I posted a photo on instagram at the end of September to celebrate a great month of sticking to my fitness plan. Now, October is over, so here’s an update.
My goal this year is to build up a solid habit of regular exercise. For the first half of the year, I did yoga, worked out at home and did a little running. I was doing something consistently, but I didn’t have a good schedule and I wasn’t working very hard.
In June, I read Strength Training for Dummies (I know), and put together a plan. I started going to the Park District fitness center and did 2-3 full-body workouts with weights each week. They don’t have a huge range of equipment, so I was mostly using dumbbells, the cable machine and body weight exercises. Turns out, I love working with weights. Almost immediately, I felt stronger. In August, I added running to the mix, using the Couch to 5k app.
I’ve been aiming for 15 visits to the gym per month. I feel like every other day is a reasonable goal. Some weeks, I go four or five times and other weeks, just twice. Over the course of the month, it averages out and I’m okay with that. I’ll slowly increase my goal, as my schedule allows. It’s important to me that my fitness program feels do-able and fun. I’m in it for the long haul, not a quick fix.
In October, I changed things up and started a circuit training program. It’s very challenging and each time I do it, I have to really push to finish the workout. The plan includes jumping exercises, which are fun and super challenging. I am definitely working at the edges of my ability. I’m not sure if I’m building as much muscle as I did with weight training, but I feel that it is very good for my overall fitness level. I’m almost at the end of the Couch to 5k training, so my running days are more intense too.
The theme for October has been recovery. Mid-month, I had some trouble with my knees and had to take a few days off. I had a chat with a super helpful guy at REI and realized that I needed to pay more attention to post-workout recovery. That means I’m icing my knees and using the foam roller to loosen up the IT band. I am also doing short yoga sessions. (I find yogadownload.com to be great for this.) These recovery efforts have made a huge difference. No pain in the knees and I’m able to work hard.
For November and December, I am looking to maintain 3-5 days per week and keep going with the circuit training and running. At the moment, I couldn’t care less about results, weight loss or anything else. All that matters is building up a good habit that is enjoyable and sustainable.