I joined the gym in 2017 and for 7 months, I went to lots of different classes. The gym itself didn’t appeal to me at all. I did enjoy the aquafit classes and even liked going swimming occasionally. I will always look like a meerkat when swimming though: I don’t like putting my face in the water at all.
After June, I didn’t go to the gym a lot at all. I like to get my money’s worth from my monthly fee so when each session was costing me more than £8, I knew it was time to give it up. My running for the year hadn’t been spectacular but I did manage to complete the couch25k again in August and built up gradually. In December I did one run of 3.38 miles: my longest for a while. After that I pushed myself and can now do a 10k run (6.2 miles in old money!) once a month.
In January, I upped my game a lot. I joined a group on Rosemary Conley online to complete 1,000 miles by walking in one year and also joined RedJanuary, a community initiative to support your mental health by doing something active every day in January. I will tell you more about these later but whilst I was doing Red January, I discovered a lady called Jessica Smith and her walk strong workouts. I bought my first DVD, Walk the Weight Off 30 day plan, at the beginning of January and have worked out with her regularly every week. I now have two more of her DVDs in my collection. In the DVDs, she has two other ladies working out with her. There is Debbie, her mum, who shows you gentler versions of the exercise. If you want to up the game, you follow her friend, Beth. Jessica is a very likeable lady and it is like having a personal coach working with you. I’ve always liked cardio but not very good at toning. With the walk the weight off DVDs you have a 30 days plan, which includes toning with weights and a toning band. Jessica explains every move and you feel she is in the room when she suddenly tells you how to stand so you don’t hurt your knees. There are also some stretching plans too which includes yoga moves.
Jessica’s workouts can be found on YouTube and you can join the community at Jessica Smith TV. You are sent newsletters with new challenges coming up. I have just started a Summer of Strength plan and it is great. You are given two options; a DVD workout or something from YouTube. Now I have finally learnt how to watch YouTube on the TV, and as I don’t have the DVDs, I am working from YouTube.
This plan is more about building up strength rather than cardio so there is a use of weights. It also includes stretching, something I need a lot of practice in. The challenge is over 5 weeks and is broken down into:
Week 1 – stamina
Week 2 – endurance
Week 3 – power
Week 4 – function
Week 5 – total strength
Each week is over 5 days with two rest days to do what you want to do. I always make sure I have one day of rest although I aim to walk for pleasure on that day.
I love the plan as I wouldn’t normally choose these type of exercises. My last day of exercise for week 2 was total body barre. I did 52 minute ballet burn. I loved it. It’s a sort of cardio and strength ballet inspired workout so I didn’t have to point my toes too much! Some days I have said glad that is over but I’ve always been chuffed I’ve done it!
Basically if you love the gym, keep up with the membership. If not, find something that suits you. I much prefer working out on my own and in my own time so this is perfect for me. One thing that I try to do is plan my exercise each week especially now I am fitting in this plan. I am trying to use my bullet point journal for this (more about this another day) and planning week two was great as I could fit it around going out.
Happy exercising whatever your choice.