Thursday, May 01, 2014

My Fitness Challenge: Day 1

Why hello!!!!! Sorry for being away for so long! I have been in end of term madness with my studies and popped off to America for a couple of weeks to visit with family, so I have not been in the blogging game at all. Let's fix that!

My hometown from the plane! Bonus points if you can guess where it is. I wish y'all could see the skyline but it's to the right of the window frame.

So, I've decided to start a fitness challenge. There are many reasons to start taking better care of oneself, and what better time than May 1! I have a few reasons for starting this challenge:

1) I'm not eating enough. Or healthy enough.

Living in university accommodation as a grad student and having a kitchen to share with more people than I'm used to has really affected my diet. Whereas I used to indulge in a couple meals a week out for lunch and cook myself healthy breakfast and dinner (and snacks during the day), I now eat pretty terribly. I usually go for ready-meals, takeout, or campus cafeteria food. In none of these situations am I actually in control of what I'm eating, and I'm actually eating less than I should. It's time to get on a meal plan and quit using my accommodation as an excuse.

Tip: If you're on a budget and still want to indulge in dining-out (and have the time and ability to do so), I highly recommend doing lunch out instead of dinner. The prices are smaller, usually with specials or smaller portions, and you can always make an event out of it with coworkers or classmates. 

2) I am really out of shape.

Over the Easter break I went home to the United States and tried to walk up a hill with my boyfriend. It was laughable. I was out of breath and sweating! My legs could work but my lungs would not. Though I am happy with my size, I would love to be more toned and muscly and just be able to run a half mile or go through an ab workout without shaking. I'm serious about the out of shape thing.

3) A better diet and exercise = more energy.

I'm tired ALL the time. I also have no routine as I am in dissertation season and work on an independent researcher's schedule. My hopes with a diet and exercise schedule are that I will be more energized and my body will get back on a normal time clock.

I decided to start the Blogilates 90 Day Challenge from Cassey Ho (my favorite source for workout videos and general life happiness inspiration). I found Blogilates through a quick Essibutton vlog or video last summer. It really changed my life, as I worked out nearly every day that summer and followed her beginners calendar. It was amazing how my body changed and how happy and energized I was all of the time, even though I was working a stressful retail job. For the first time I could see my stomach and arms defining, and it made me happy. However, it was hard to stick to with the move to the UK and living in university accommodation. But no more excuses!! I'm excited to start this plan and see all of the changes it brings in my life.

The basic thing is to workout an hour a day, with Sunday as a rest-day. Drink 3-4 liters of water and eat clean following her meal plan with meals every 2-3 hours totaling six meals a day. I have some personal caveats I'm allowing myself. The hour of workout doesn't have to be Blogilates, I can do gym classes as substitute. The hour also doesn't have to be Pilates. I have always loved yoga so I am allowing myself yoga time. Because the yoga class I like to take is on Sundays, I'm making my rest day flexible to include Saturday, Sunday or Monday depending on if I make it to the yoga class on Sunday and if I work out on Saturday.

So, now for Day 1's thoughts! I prefer to workout in the mornings and couldn't get up early enough to cook the big breakfast that Cassey suggests for Thursdays (the meal follows alternate day plans). I have decided that as long as I get in all the meals, I can switch up the order a little bit. I'm not sure if Cassey would approve, but I'm all for flexibility and trying out what works for your lifestyle! I have so far had two of the three small meals. I had an apple and coffee for pre-workout breakfast and a half cup of Greek yogurt with cereal sprinkled in after the workout. I definitely mixed things up a bit in the meal plan, but I will try to be better about sticking to it as I go. I'm also terrible about drinking water, it's usually so difficult for me to do. However, I've found myself nearly done with my first of six 500ml bottle refills so I'm patting myself on the back! Today I went to a class at my nearby gym. It was so good, and the time absolutely flew by and I felt myself really working. My legs were shaking on the walk home! I think this good feeling will propel me and motivate me to keep going every day!

Now, because I have no kitchen space and limited resources, the meal planning is going to be interesting. I'm looking at making multiple grocery trips a week because I have no ability for food storage. That's fine for me, as there's a grocery store within a five minute walk, but it's going to be something I just have to take the time out to do. As well as cooking, I just usually don't take the time to do it.

The biggest thing I've done with this fitness challenge is keeping a diary and posting on this blog for accountability. I highly recommend it if you are going to start a lifestyle change any time soon!

Have you ever done a fitness and health challenge? Are you as big of a Cassey Ho fan as I am? Let me know in the comments!

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