If you have been reading for a while, you will know that this year I’m hoping to get my health and fitness back on track on year – it’s not been the easiest journey but I’m getting there!
I was really surprised by the response I got when I posted the above picture on social media. Flushed face, sweaty hair escaping a rough bun, no make up – not generally the way I style myself in photos but I was so proud in that moment. I’d just completed an hour-long BodyBalance class, the first group fitness class that I have done since CJ was born (and about seven months earlier than that), and I was knackered but really happy.
Over the last few months I’ve made a concerted effort to keep my fitness levels up by making sure I hit my step goals for the day. While this has been great, it’s really all I’ve managed to do. My husband works long hours and it’s been that consistent struggle to balance my work, my role as mother and getting back into the condition I was in back in 2011. A couple of weeks ago, I decided I’d had enough.
With work likely to be drying up next term as older students head into their final exams, I knew I’d have a lot more time on my hands to exercise. On the other hand, Spring in New Zealand is notoriously wet – counting out long distance walks with the stroller – and continuing with what I was doing was going to maintain my fitness but not really help me reach my goals of tightening, toning and losing this baby weight. It’s always so hard as a mum to justify spending money on yourself but in this case I felt I needed to be selfish. I was going to get a gym membership.
There were two key elements I was looking for in a gym – group classes and a creche. Group classes were important to me because I feel challenged to keep up with others. If I’m out for a walk and feel tired, I can cut it short and turn around and go home. If I’m in a class, I’m far too proud and stubborn to walk out! Persevere to the end! The creche was important to me as it means I can make use of the lull in work to hit the classes in the morning while CJ hangs out and has fun in their kid’s room. The one downer of this plan? The only gym that met this criteria is a 20-minute drive from our house. Still, it’s been worth it.
So far I’ve been for two classes and one general workout and I am loving it. I’m miles behind many of the people in the classes I’ve attended but no one has looked at me sideways if I’m forever stuck in the “low” options. I’ve incentivised myself, setting mini-rewards of fitness gear, to make sure that I get in the habit. Funnily enough I feel like it’s creating a healthier flow on effect in my life – on my rest day I decided to go for a 2km beach walk rather than curl up at the local cafe with a coffee and slice. Maybe those endorphins are addictive after all!