As someone who has always been body conscious and lazy in equal measure, I have given myself this year to make real improvements on my health and fitness regimen.
A casual smoker and non-casual eater of junk food, this is not the first time I have started the new year with the resolve to transform myself into an athletic powerhouse. But this will be my first attempt to blog about it as well.
Having begun with a new weekly schedule of yoga and body-weight exercises, I’m already sleeping better; have stopped getting short of breath when walking long distances or running for the bus etc.; and I genuinely look forward to doing each activity every day.
My diet has not changed as dramatically, which is something I need to address if I expect to see results. But I’ve made a good attempt at some simple recipes boiling/ grilling veg, experimenting with filo pastry, and snacking on nuts instead of crisps. Alas, pizza remains a weekly treat and shop-bought sandwiches are still my staple lunchtime meal.
After reading around the masses of online information about health and/or fitness, I’ve learned the first thing that happens when you take up exercise is you gain extra blood and capillaries to reach your growing muscles.
Because I have trained before, albeit over a year ago, I still have a lot of the strength I will have gained in that time – so my ability to squat, lunge, and jump won’t have degraded much. And all these healthy capillaries are still at my disposal.
As someone who has smoked regularly, my lungs were always going to take a long time to clear out the tar and other gunk. After a year off, I’ll still have 15% less of my stamina for cardio before taking up smoking – probably more. This is significant because fat molecules actually leave the body through respiration, as well as perspiration, urination, and masturbation.Muscle gain is a whole different ball game to fat loss. Muscle fibres tear when you push them to their limits; exercising until exhaustion is the fastest way to do this. As muscles repair themselves, they become stronger leaving you bigger and broader. As we all know well, protein speeds up this repairing process with fish being the best natural source of the body-building macronutrient.
According to everybody’s favourite personal trainer, Joe Wicks: The Body Coach, it takes a minimum of three months to fully realise progress in all these areas. I’m giving myself 12 months, so it should be a doddle!