Recently I’ve rejoined the gym after quiting it for almost a year. And this makes it my third time of joining, quiting, joining, quiting and now joining back. Until I am starting to feel a little silly at times because when I dropped up, I was able to write articles about why I’ve chosen to drop up.
The last few months of work has been getting more demanding – and I’ve chosen to rejoin the gym at the time when my work demands have been approaching the most hectic (that explains the lack of consistency in posting these recent weeks- sorry about that, folks).
I’ve writen in the past why I’ve chosen to quit the gym:
- I quit the gym… and lost weight (Jan 2009)
- If you quit the gym does not mean you would drop out from exercise (March 2011)
- Thought of quiting the gym? (Aug 2011)
- Why am I gaining weight after quiting the gym? (Sept 2011)
The only time I could remember when I was not on the gym and where the weight was just off effortlessly was when I left the corporate world and stayed in outskirts of Thailand (totally different country, totally new world). And I could as well easily maintain my weight loss while I was in a paycut job despite eating lots of rice and food. When I rejoined the corporate world, within 6 months I find my weight creeping back slowly and steadily. Perhaps it is due to increased 3-in-1 coffee that I am unconsciously consuming to give me that additional boost.
Anyway, the turning point came when I happened to have washed most of my pants so I needed another pair of pants to wear. And I took out a pair of pants from the cupboard which I had bought a little over a year ago. At the point when I’ve bought it, the pants was just fitting nicely. And when I tried it on last month, I felt it was tight at the thighs area and I could not buckle it.
That’s it! I know I cannot continue on like this. When we put on weight, it is equally distributed amongst our body- so spare tires at the abdomen are only an indication that there are a high amount of fat distribution at areas that you may not be conscious of: arms, thighs, butts, calves, back, neck.
I still dilligently practice wai tan kung (chi building exercise) almost every day because this exercise has been effective in giving my energy to start the day and it literally cured my lifelong sinus (in less than 2 weeks of practicing it). In the essence of giving energy and overcoming fatigue, I definitely recommend wai tan kung, tai chi or chi kung – it is much more effective than intense aerobic exercises. In fact, intense aerobic exercises would utilize your internal storage of energy- if your energy levels are already depleted, doing intense exercises may make it worse. You still need cardio but what I mean is not intensive.
But based on the volume of coffee that I am consuming and sometimes that stress eating (fried food and snacks are easily available in the office), I realise I needed more intensive form of cardio exercise to prevent getting diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems, joint pain or cholesterol. The price to pay for that membership is definitely worth it compared to lifelong medical bills and treatments.
My priority— health
These recent months, I am learning to take things easy. We do our best and the rest, we leave it to whatever the outcome it is- we don’t beat ourselves to it if we cannot accomplish. Things that are within our control and jurisdiction, we do it. So when I make the decision the rejoin the gym, I told myself that I am not going to force or pressure myself to workout.
My target: go twice a week. If can go more, then it’s a bonus.
I set a targeted amount of calories that I am planning to burn and would not leave until I’ve achieved the target (it’s very low so I’m ashamed to state it here ). I switched amongst different cardio machines to achieve that target. Sure, the calories burned may not be 100% accurate- but at least there’s an estimation. And to add on more on resistance training, and stretching to prevent injury.
So far, it has been working out fine. Towards the months leading on to the time when I’ve previously quit the gym last year, I used to force myself to go- and hated myself for making excuses not to go. So the workout had become a chore instead of something relaxing or enjoyable.
Now, I listen to my music in my earphones as I don’t fancy the music played in the gym. And I use the exercise as something to destress, not to punish. My priority had changed that I want to conserve my own health, and the increased circulation brought about from exercising will help to improve blood flow and I’ve always believed that aerobic exercise helps regulates the hormones flow and distribution which is vital in ensuring proper bodily functions.
The key is- find a way to make a deal with yourself without forcing yourself. Actually, we force ourselves awfully a lot every day to do things that we don’t like or to be someone that we’re not. I was travelling in bus one night at around 8.30pm and got stuck in a jam. The bus was surrounded by huge cars driven by single drivers who had the look of fatigue and stress in their faces. I don’t think they love their jobs very much but are forced to stick to it in order to support a lifestyle that they think they need.
So, if on top of that they force themselves to exercise- one day, everything would surely explode when they can’t take it anymore. We need not look at exercise as a punishment and force ourselves to do it.
Many people can naturally exercise- they can do runs in the parks and burn off tonnes of calories and maintain good cardiovascular health. But for some of us, we need to be pushed to workout- to have some form of measurement or indication of our accomplishment. In the park sometimes we tend to walk around in a overly relaxed manner but the moment we get on that treadmill, we would know that 10 rounds (in the size of a football field per round) of that leisurely walk would at most burn off 200 calories. Of course, exercising in the park is still much better compared to spending time in front of the telly with the remote control at hand.