Ever wondered what it’s truly like to start getting fit in January? One of our client’s employees have kindly agreed to tell their story through the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, and all of the healthy changes they are trying to make. Here is week two of Employee X’s fitness journey:
Monday 8th January
It’s a new week and I still ache… This supposed ’good pain’ certainly sticks around a while and it definitely isn’t enjoyable. However, at least it is a reminder I am doing the right thing. This morning at the gym my PT (personal trainer) recommended that I concentrate more on warm-down stretches to ease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), but I’m usually so tired after a workout that I end up forgetting all about the stretches.
My workout sessions are beginning to feel very familiar! Today’s session was a combination of press-ups, crunches, lunges, planks and some weights in various groups either counting up or down. For someone who could barely do any type of exercise before, I am very happy with how far I have come and if my friends had told me I would be doing 90 press-ups before work I would have laughed in their faces (in the pub with a few beers of course). Look at me now though! I do at least 90 reps of each exercise including press-ups, squats and crunches.
I even learnt a new exercise today, which is called The Bridge. It is where you lie on your back and do pelvic thrusts. I found it is much easier to do if you sing Richard O’brien’s ‘Time Warp’ in your head – “It’s just a jump to the left <insert thrust> and then a step to the right <insert thrust>.”
Finally I managed to do a warm-down routine today, which consisted of stretching arms, shoulders, calves and thighs (or quads if you prefer the technical term). I did the exercises twice for 20 seconds each and that equaled a total of 280 seconds of warm-down time.
Tuesday 9th January
When I wake up and something is wrong… I feel like I’m having an out of body experience as there is no aches or pains anywhere. There are tiny tweaks that are still there but I no longer groan when I get up from my desk.
I have also made the healthy decision to replace the six to eight cups of tea I have every day with just one or two cups instead. I am now drinking a couple of pints of water too. The only slight inconvenience is that I need to pop to the bathroom a couple more times a day… However, it is nice to have a break from sitting at my desk.
I have been asked to go to the pub tonight with the lads to watch a cup semi-final, but I’m not sure if I can be trusted…
Wednesday 10th January
The answer to my question is no I cannot be trusted to go to the pub and just have a few drinks. I didn’t go completely crazy but I had more than I should have without any dinner. I have what seems to be a very early start (8am). Alas I’m back in the gym.
My workout session has prearranged water breaks, which are normally after 10-15 minutes of exercise. I only get through my warm-up routine and I have to refill my bottle… Maybe alcohol wasn’t the best idea as it makes you dehydrated.
This session was slightly different to what I am used to, as we did some quick steps over a ladder on the floor, tricep dips and tricep press-ups. And guess what? They are HARD! Tricep press-ups are like normal press-ups but are even harder. I managed to do five in one sitting and couldn’t do anymore. If I thought the tricep press-ups were bad, the ropes just took the cake. They appear to be just big pieces of string lying on the gym floor but appearances are deceiving and just you try wiggling them about for 30 seconds at a time! My poor arms were in agony, well biceps not arms I’m told this time.
This lead me to pose the questions why triceps and biceps? The answer to that question is in the number of ‘heads’ a muscle has. A bicep has two muscle heads, a tricep has three muscle heads and your quadriceps have four. It all makes sense now!
Thursday 11th January
Welcome back ‘good pain’, oh how I haven’t missed you…
The lads asked me if I actually enjoyed going to the gym and the truth is no I don’t. If I am being completely honest, I dread every session and don’t enjoy it in the slightest. The only motivation I have is knowing that I have to meet my PT. If I was just going to the gym by myself I probably would have been tempted to stay in bed yesterday for an extra hour. She not only motivates me throughout our workout sessions but she also gives me a purpose for going in the first place. I can’t be trusted to exercise by myself! I’m also fairly sure she knows where I work and although she hasn’t pulled a Liam Neeson on me yet. She would look for me, she would fine me and she would drag me down to the gym by my hair without mercy.
Friday 12th January
Today’s exercise is boxing at lunch! The session always starts with jabs, then uppercuts and body hooks. We also developed some two, three and four punch combinations. When it comes to boxing I’m still a little bit uncoordinated and the occasional ‘swing and miss’ still happens.
The boxing is broken up with some lunges and squats. However, I do prefer the nitty gritty aspect of throwing punches and hearing the sound of a decent one landing on the pads. I don’t even think about my PT when I’m throwing punches, which is an improvement on last week. However, my boss isn’t fairing so well when I need inspiration to throw big right hooks.
I’m going out with work colleagues tonight and we have a tabled booked at a Mexican restaurant, beer will be involved… I feel I deserve this beer. Plus, you can’t turn a Sinner into a Saint overnight right?!
Saturday 13th January
This morning I have woken up feeling a bit fuzzy… I ate chicken wings and fajitas, which both have protein in them. Protein is good right?! I think where I went wrong was the chocolate cheesecake, six bottles of sol, a glass of wine and four shots of tequila. That could be the reason for the fuzziness…
My only goal for today is to accomplish 8,000 steps… Anything else will be short of a miracle. My normal recovery day consists of lying on the sofa and watching sports. However, I’m going to make an effort today though. I will walk into town to get a few items for the house. It was an hour round trip, but I made it! Then I went for another walk in the opposite direction to watch some mates play rugby.
I’ve ended the day on 10,000, which is 9,980 more than I would have expected.
Sunday 14th January
I still feel a bit jaded today but I must go for a run. The weather isn’t ideal, the park is very wet and muddy. It is also very very very cold! I am forced to use the pavements and pathways, which isn’t fun. Today I’ve really noticed how hard the road is compared to the treadmill or grass I am used to running on. The run is a little bit of a disappointment and it doesn’t turn out how I had hoped. My legs really hurt and they aren’t responding to the road at all. Maybe it is the excess weight I am carrying but boy do my feet pound the tarmac…
After 20 minutes running I am done. My knees and feet hurt way too much, so I slowly walk back to the house to have a shower. This feels like a disappointing end to my run as I genuinely felt motivated this morning after “Tequilagate” on Friday. There is definite swelling on my right knee and I feel dissatisfied everywhere else. For the first time since I started my fitness journey I am not only realising how hard it is going to be but how useless I feel. I barely get to 1KM and I feel knackered beyond belief.
Read how Employee X got on in week 3 of their fitness journey.