working out (or not working out?) in quarantine | unfitness update

2020, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

Working out at home has never been easier – with all the fitness influencers under the sun doing live workouts on Instagram while gyms and classes and everything is shut, so many apps are doing free trials and everywhere it seems people are posting timelapses of their at-home-yoga routine in their ginormous gardens.

Overall, the pressure to exercise and ‘make the most’ of all these resources and time is very intimidating. Especially if you don’t have a ginormous garden or a yoga mat, let alone motivation, energy and any confidence to post it online for other people to scrutinise and /or feel pressured by.

But there are ways to make exercise feel less intimidating at this time so I think I’d note a few of my ideas to how I’m actually finding the headspace (and the physical space in my little house) to exercise.

Firstly, you don’t have to exercise if you don’t want to – if you’re happy with your health and fitness and have no desire to workout at all, don’t do it. Put your energy into something you’re passionate about! Otherwise you’re just wasting your own time.

Once you have then decided whether you actually want to workout or not, I’d recommend with starting with the goal of exercising just once a week – I feel like everywhere I look someone’s saying 2-3 times a week, 3-4 times a week, every weekday, every day and it all just feels like so much? If you start with once a week and hate it you can stop, if you really enjoy it you can build it up from there. Start gently and do it more regularly if you get into it, try not to put any pressure on yourself.

Personally, I’m someone who works so much better with guidance, so if you can find a live class or a YouTube video, it can feel a lot less intimidating that a list of exercise and number of reps (and it can kind of feel like there’s someone doing it with you?). I started with ‘PE with Joe’ on the Body Coach channel – yes it’s a 9am workout designed for children to still be able to do PE but wow it’s actually a pretty intense hiit workout. The ‘live’ bit makes you feel like you’re being cheered on but the ‘being in your own living room’ bit makes me feel a little bit sneaky when I adapt the exercises for my dodgy joints and bad stamina.

I also use a variety of apps depending on what mood I’m in – some of them are subscription apps but have limited programs available for free and sometimes I just search for things on YouTube but there’s loads of PT style workouts available.

If full on ‘working out’ feels a bit intimidating, or you’re wanting to get fitter but don’t know where to start (or everything feels a bit advanced), going for walks is exercise enough! I moved to an area that has considerably more hills than my hometown and it’s only now that I’m getting to explore it and realising how unfit I am.

I got tagged in this ‘run 5k, donate £5, tag 5 people’ thing on Instagram (thanks Nick) and I went for a 5k walk with my boyfriend. The uphill was hard, we managed to jog for about 2 minutes I reckon, but it was a start. I want to start using couch to 5k again and now we’ve done some exploring I’ve found the place (that’s not quite as hilly!) to do it. It’s all about little steps building up to bigger things!

And lastly, I want to reiterate that if working out feels like a lot of pressure and stress right now, your mental health is more important and making time to centre yourself using apps like headspace is more important than anything else. I don’t want to become the kind of person who preaches about meditating, but taking 10 minutes in the morning to focus on your breath can have a great impact for the rest of the day.

These times are completely unprecedented and the way we all handle isolation, social distancing and lockdown is so personal to each of us. The most important thing is to try and listen to your body and keep yourself happy and healthy.

All my love in these strange, pandemic times!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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I don’t hate running anymore? | unfitness

2019, fitness

Hello!

I know, the title is so shocking that I don’t even need to write a post to follow it up right? But we all know I will.

I feel like every time I go on Instagram I see stories and posts all about travelling, babies and working out – lots of people are documenting their journey with running, I follow a couple of people who are basically fitness instagrammers and there’s been a whole bunch of body positivity on my feed for #mentalhealthawarenessweek which is fab.

But between Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lucie and the bump and Hannah Witton’s surgery to 5k series, I felt inspired and in quite a snap decision I decided I was going to do Couch to 5k too. I may have mentioned it a bit prematurely in my May Goals post (literally the first day I did it) but you know what? I’ve stuck with three runs a week for three weeks and I can see massive progress!

I know this is going to sound so stupid, but it’s incredibly well designed (by the NHS, so of course it is) – three runs is the perfect amount of time to adjust. When I do the first run of each week, by the end of the half an hour I’m normally doing a fast walk more than a run but I push through and by the third and last run of each week I can pretty consistently ‘run’ for the whole time I’m meant to run.

Just as a quick summary – Couch to 5k is an app, I use the NHS designed one but I’ve used other ones before which are usually the exact same program just in a different app. It coaches you and slowly builds it up over 9 weeks to be able to run roughly 5km in roughly half an hour! So in week one, it was a 5 minute warm up walk then alternating between 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking 8 times and then a 5 minute cool down walk. The week 3 I’ve just finished was a 5 minute walk, 90 second run, 90 second walk, 3 minute run, 3 minute walk, 90 second run then walk, 3 minutes run and a 5 minute cool down walk. Just to summarise!

So when I say ‘run’, I don’t mean a full on sprint, I mean a semi decently consistent 6km/hour jog when I’m meant to run and a somewhat leisurely 4km/hour when I’m meant to walk.

And the reason I know what speeds I’m going out is actually something that I wanted to mention as working really well for me – I’m doing my couch to 5k on a treadmill rather than running outside. I’m fortunate enough that my mum has a treadmill in her garage that I can use rather than having to go to the gym (I do want to start doing that soon though!) but it makes running so much more appealing for these reasons:

  • I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t have to worry about ‘bumping into’ someone I know (I don’t really know anyone in my town anyway but still), I don’t have to worry about finishing my run further away from my house that I really want to. Being inside is a big plus for me.
  • I can watch YouTube which is my favourite thing to do when I’m running because I don’t like listening to music because I run in time rather than at my pace, I don’t listen to podcasts (yet?) and I don’t want to listen to the radio (see music reasons) and bonus – it means I can cover the treadmill screen, which is good because looking at times and stats just gets me too much in my head about it and then I don’t run very well.
  • It sets a pace that I can maintain because I know full well that I would go significantly slower if I didn’t have that consistent pace so it means I’m training myself even more than just couch to 5k.
  • Even if it’s not a pace I can maintain, knowing the treadmill is at 6km/hour means I know that even if I’m fast-walking rather than slow-running, I’m still going at 6km/hour which I wouldn’t be doing if I was running outside. So by the time I do start running outside I’ll be better at pacing myself without having my pace set for me.
  • Did I mention I don’t have to leave my house?

At this point in the plan, I generally run to over 2km – in week 2 I was reaching 2.5km but in week 3 even though the times I’m running for is longer, over the whole run I’m running for less time so I’m not going as far but at the moment I’m just following the program and doing whatever Sarah Millican’s lovely voice tells me to do.

All round – I’m feeling really good about the whole thing, I’m really excited about getting to week 9 and being able to run 5k! I’m already thinking about being able to run further than 5k – to me, it seems natural to progress from 5k to 10k to a half marathon (roughly 20k) and then a marathon (just over 40k!). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

I’ve set myself the personal goal of taking part in the ABP Southampton ‘Marathon’ (there’s lots of races but it’s generally referred to as the ‘marathon’) – it’s a fairly big event in Southampton and it was a significant part of my time there so it feels right that if I was to do a race I would start there. But for now, just going to finish my couch to 5k and keep doing what I’m doing.

One day I’ll definitely start running outside but for now, sticking with my couch to 5k program on my mum’s treadmill and loving it!

If you have any questions about starting running or using couch to 5k, leave a comment down below and I’ll answer anything! But I will say, if I can do it, anyone can do it I promise!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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