After being a rogue gym attendee for the past 3 weeks I have finally had my gym induction, and it was brilliant. It included having measurements taken, being shown all the machines and equipment and discussing my goals. I have been looking forward to getting back into exercise for such a long time, which I wrote about here. Understandably the fitness instructors weren’t that keen to see me at the gym so soon after having a baby and it was getting slightly embarrassing towards the end as they all knew who I was: “Are you Esther?”, “Esther is that you?”. Awkward. I have been going 3 or 4 times a week and doing a mixture of classes, weights and cardio. At the moment Rufus feeds at 6:15 pm so after making sure he is settled and Winston is in his pyjamas I am good to go!
I’ve had gym memberships before, but this is the first time I have had such a personalised induction process and had the importance of weight training explained to me. The trainer and I ended up having a big discussion about the difference between weight loss and inch loss, as he quickly realised I had an aversion to weights when I started to ask: “Will this make me chunkier?” after just about every weight machine. I am not naturally slim and have always shied away from weight training in favour of classes; as I don’t want my legs to get any chunkier than they already are…if I put on any weight it immediately finds a home on one of my thighs, and it is something I am quite conscious about. The fitness instructor and I had a great discussion about weight training. He explained how weight training is the best way (if you are already eating a balanced diet) to lose inches and fit into clothes quicker as the muscles will lie flatter and tighter…which is now so obvious to me! Then if you mix weights with cardio the pockets of fat will be lost along the way too. He said it is extremely difficult for most women to build up a huge amount of bulk on their muscles.
I’ve found the two classes that I particularly like – Body Pump and Body Combat. They are both fantastic and guaranteed to make you super sweaty. Body Pump is a weight based class – low weights, high reps with lots of variety and Body Combat is aerobic and the most intense class I’ve ever been to. It is madness! I try to do two gym sessions and two classes per week.
Being fit and healthy is something I really feel passionate about. I think I feel even more passionate about it now I’m a Mum. I feel such a responsibility to teach my children good eating habits, teach them about food and make sure that they know the importance of exercise through example. I feel sad when I hear Mum’s a similar age to me (mid 20’s) talk about how they are more self conscious about their bodies after having children and seem to think they can do nothing about it.
The 20’s is supposed to be the peak of health for men and women, and I truly believe this can be the case after you have had children. The body is an incredible thing and if you work it hard enough and in the right way – miracles will happen. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am currently more self conscious about my body after having baby number two (still very early days) and it affects my confidence to a degree. I have accepted that I will never be super skinny and neither do I want to be, but in my case I do feel the need to be comfortable with my body in order to be a confident parent, and pass on a healthy body image to my children.
I also feel that leaving the house for an hour or so, combined with exercise, is doing wonders for my emotional well being. I feel like I am more patient, less tense and I really look forward to seeing the boys again.
Is it sad that sometimes I’m running on the treadmill listening to one of my cheesy iPod tunes (The Saturdays, Little Mix, Pixie Lott anyone?) and I start smiling to myself because I am so happy working up a sweat? Then I see my reflection in the mirror and mistake myself for a lion? That frizz could fool anyone.