Well, it’s time to check in on January health and fitness plans with you all and update you on my efforts. This week I thought I would focus on the exercise aspect of what I’ve been doing after we talked weight loss methods and food last week.
I’m a bit militant when it comes to exercise once I start doing it and I also think that dieting alone is a really counter-productive way to lose weight. It can also ruin your metabolism by starving your body and encouraging it to store fat as soon as it gets its hands on excess calories again, because it’s in feast or famine mode.
You might remember me saying that I love food and I love both eating and drinking socially – its just not practical for me to say that I will forever be careful, not have that extra drink, or refuse the cake on offer with coffee. It’s never going to happen. Although I’d like to make my healthier diet a long term change, moderation, not denial is key.
With that in mind I needed to find a new method of exercise. Pete and I cancelled our gym membership with a three month notice period and it finished on the 31st of Dec. We must have been the only people cancelling at this time of year! The membership had gone up and up and up and we weren’t going anymore as It wasn’t as convenient for my new job.
Thinking back, my favourite exercise ever was a circuits class I attended there, loosely based on military fitness by the instructor and a mix of cardio and weights or strength work for toning. I was physically exhausted after every session but saw fast results and it was addictive. I wanted to replicate that and was also aware that exercise doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m fortunate in that despite living in Manchester, I live ten minutes from a vast stretch of waterpark with miles of running tracks through woodland, around lakes and fresh air that feels miles from the city. So I wanted to get back to outdoor exercising too.
All that lead me to British Military Fitness. I’d known of the classes for a while but never been and I won’t deny being nervous. The classes are based upon the kind of training the military use and particularly rely on when they’re out on tours of duty. They have to maintain their fitness without equipment and sometimes in limited space so the exercises are an intense combination of cardio (sprints and short runs) interspersed with all manner of total body exercises ranging from star jumps and air boxing to the dreaded burpees and more traditional sit ups, push ups, tricep dips and squats. They do all this in parks or open spaces all over the country and for a bargain price. it’s £35 to join and the class I attend is £28 for 1 class a week or £36 for as many as you like, at any location in the country. (I know that it’s higher in the South East and London – Gemma C-S has confirmed she paid £50 per month for unlimited classes in Hyde Park, but she agrees it’s worth it even at that price)
I admit I couldn’t face it in the dark during the first week of January when the gales were blowing and rain lashing, but I got to my first on on Saturday the 7th, anticipating a gruelling session due to my miserably diminished fitness levels.
Was it hard? Yes. Definitely.
Will I be going back? Without a shadow of a doubt. (I’ve done three sessions since writing this and am now wandering round under a black cloud as due to work commitments I can’t attend until Thursday, it’s that good!)
It was great fun, the instructors were unfailingly supportive and encouraging and the sense of achievement at the end was fabulous. Even better, you can expect to burn around 500 cals an hour and I immediately recognised that it was going to make a massive difference to both my cardiovascular fitness and general strength and tone. I joined at Sale Water park and you can try your first class free by downloading a voucher on the BMF site.
Get Fit with Florence!
I have a had a thought for those of you who are more goal orientated and looking for a fitness aim for 2012 to motivate you. There are still a few places for the Manchester 10K which I have done a couple of times before and will be doing again. It’s a fantastic atmosphere on the day and I can highly recommend the sense of achievement you gain from completing it. I could even be persuaded to arrange a mini-meet up for lunch after the race if anyone is interested?
Just drop a comment in the box below
So, have you done BMF? Will you be giving it a go now? Do share what your exercise goals are and how you’re going to get there, team sports or head clearing runs, I’d love to hear more.
*Credit to Glitter Guide for the title phrase, a rather affectionate way I thought, of referring to the extra pounds we’re all working on shifting post-Christmas!