F is for Fitness

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This is meant as a general guide for someone getting started, written by a woman who has lost and gained more weight than some small towns have, probably, so caveat emptor on this concept….

But you know what? Fitness isn’t strictly about weight. While I don’t completely go for “healthy at any size”, there is something to be said about owning the body you are in and appreciating or at least, like, making peace with the way things are. Which is like, on-going crap with me ALWAYS, but that’s, you know, not the point here.

OK, so let’s pretend that you just woke up in this body that just like, does these things,  wants these things, and additionally, Oh God, why is it like this?

BASIC RULES:

You can’t change your body type. YES, you can change a lot about your body.

*But if you’re walking around with small shoulders and wide hips, you’re kinda stuck with that. Can you lift and lose weight? Yes. But you’re never going to be a plank, sorry. Well, maybe if you weigh 90 lbs, but don’t do that to yourself. Same thing if you’re kind of a straight up and down chick, you can enhance your booty but you’re not going to be Beyonce, magically, even with 2839403280 squats.

BUT NO MATTER WHAT YOU’RE SHAPED LIKE, THE GOAL IS TO BE A MORE AWESOME, HEALTHIER VERSION OF YOU AND YOU CAN DO IT!

(diet is also important, but we’re just going to skip to exercise right now.)

 

This isn’t exactly real science, but health-folk/weight-lifter-y people break humanity down to three body types. Yes, you can be a mixture:

endomorph: tendency to gain weight, losing weight is hard, big hips, smaller shoulders.

 

ectomorph: generally lean, gaining fat and muscle is hard, long, small frame, bad at building muscle.

mesomorph: naturally muscular, more-in-between frame, builds muscle easily, somewhat of a tendency to gain fat.

Knowing what body type you have helps you select what exercises are appropriate for you, as are knowing your goals/where you are starting from. (click the links for more info!)

Starter exercises

If you’re picking up exercising again, or for the first time, my advice personally is start slow and with something you know you can and will commit to. No use so hard that you injure yourself or burn out on the whole concept, right?

So here’s some different things, try one, try a few – just figure out what interests you.

 

Walking

 

If you’re super new, or have dropped exercise for a long time, this is a great place to start! You can do this at your own pace, learn your environment better, pick the tunes – it’s good. Easy to build into your day as well.

 

Yoga

Another good place to start, and what is good about this practice is you gain skill and ability, you can up the challenge level. Also it isn’t too much of a cost challenge.

Recommendations:

Gaia’s streaming service – The series “Yoga Every Day” is a gem, 15-20 minutes of yoga, which is a great before or after work activity. They also have years of yoga and tai chi videos on here – worth the investment.

There’s also a lot of new age type material on here, some of it is quite awesome – they have a documentary on the tibetan book of the dead narrated by leonard cohen! how often is life that amazing.

Yoga with Adriene – free awesome youtube channel.

 

Swimming

Another thing that adjusts with skill level. If you’re completely new to swimming, it might be good to try lessons. If you’re brushing back up – here’s a list of styles. I love swimming, but I kinda forgot how to do most stuff besides freestyle and backstroke, lol.

 

Weight-lifting

Building muscle helps you burn fat in general, makes you stronger and um, your body will sit different even before you start to get ripped. If you’re afraid of getting too muscular – don’t be. You won’t build huge muscles without a lot of work.

Also don’t over focus on a single muscle group – certain groups might be more fun/you might be more attracted to how it looks, but imbalanced weight lifting does show after a while…Don’t turn into someone twig legs and giant head crushing forearms, please.

My advice is to hold off on supplements until you’re more experienced with this, and definitely do not expect miracles.

Just getting back into weight-lifting, myself, so here’s a couple links:

Weight-lifting work-out for women

4-week beginner’s workout for men

 

(ps: there is a huge amount of weight-lifting info online. go dig. you’ll find what you want.)

Biking

 

You know what? This should probably be its own article, might get around to that. Personally, getting back into biking was more complicated for me than anticipated. There’s seat issues, lock issues, add-ons like lights and baskets, maintainance, licenses, parking logistics.

..I absolutely don’t mean to be discouraging, and none of this is REALLY that hard to deal with, but it’s a lot more than you might assume is involved in biking.

PS: there is a lot of freedom and cheap thrills in riding in downtown traffic (<3), but again, if you’re new, definitely look into the style of bike you need for the type of riding you’re going to be doing, and your best bet is going to a specialized store…an employee will take pity on you and help you, haha.

Definitely good cardio, fun way to get around town and to work. Most city buses have a rack in the front you can hook your bike up to…

Also the costliest venture, probably.

Book recs:

New Cyclist Handbook – Ben Hewitt

Effective Cycling – John Forester – great, but more of a time investment.

 

Classes/Gyms

 

A lot of people LOVE group classes, and you could like zumba, kettlebells, body bootcamp, barre (ballet type stuff, even!) – sometimes a gym membership gives you access to these, otherwise you could find local groups, depending on your area.

I’m a gym goer, personally. Skip on the classes, but love the access to equipment and a pool.
Good luck on your path.

 

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