You might be aware I have been on a weight loss mission since April. I’ve lost 25lbs, but I’ve hit a long plateau that put me in a rut.
I’ve started exercising to get fit. This is nothing new, no big secret, but for me exercising was a big issue. I hated it, even when I’d get into exercising it’d last a few weeks and then I’d give up.
Firstly, I would expect too much of myself and set myself unrealistic targets. My fitness levels are low and I have no stamina. Without a gym membership and no budget I felt it was impossible to get fit.
Luckily I have access to a gym at work, but again grew tired of my routine very quickly. That was until a lady at my Weight Watchers meeting mentioned the NHS podcast Couch to 5k. I downloaded it with great intentions and completed week one. But this is no magical fix it still requires will power. After getting ‘distracted’ and being ‘too busy’ I re-started just before Christmas and must say this podcast is a god send.
God send? I hear you cry, yes a god send! Here are the reasons why:
- The podcast is free to download so there is really no excuse.
- They start you off with realistic aims that actually help increase your stamina and ability. e.g Week one is 5 minute brisk walk to start followed by 60s running 90s walking for 20 minutes. – If i’m honest this was the most trying week for me.
- You repeat each section 3 times for the first 4 weeks, after that you get 3 new instructions a week.
- Although the music is a bit crap, all the lyrics are inspiring and the lady who is talking you through the work out is really encouraging and gives you great tips to help you along, avoid injury and help you improve technique.
The programme is a 5 minute brisk walk, 3 min jog and 90 sec recovery. Followed by a 5 minute jog, 2.5 min recovery and 3 minute jog, 90 sec recovery. Then finish it off with a 5 minute jog and finally a 5 minute recovery walk. When I heard I was going to be running for 5 mins non-stop two things came to mind.
1. How on earth am I going to last 5 minutes once, let along twice?
2. 5 minutes of running is going to be soooo long and boring.
I persevered and got through my first 5 minute jog without to much problem but the second repetition came and half way through I actually thought I was going to pass-out, but then instruction lady told me I didn’t have long to go and that this would help increase my fitness. However, I completed it and felt fantastic!
I’ve since done the second round of week 4 and although it was still challenging I instantly saw an improvement in my stamina. To be honest i’m actually ecstatic at the improvement and can’t wait to run again!
While Couch to 5K has been amazing for me and I would (and have) recommend it to everyone, i think it is really important for you to find what helps you, but definitely try it.
The main points in a successful workout routine for people starting out are as follows:
- Set yourself achievable goals – there is no point aiming to go on a 5k run if you have never done it before. Chances are you aren’t going to do it, you’ll wear yourself out or injure yourself, won’t complete it and give up
- Aim to get fit or become stronger, not lose weight.
- Mix up your work out to avoid boredom
- Be persistent. Don’t get me wrong I still find myself trying to come up with an excuse not to work out. Even halfway through sometimes I am thinking that I should stop. But, the satisfaction I get from continuing and completing the workout is amazing