I am not a health and fitness expert so I’m not going to attempt to talk about the science behind overtraining. I’m just going to tell you what happened to me. I began going to the gym seriously 2+ years ago after a 8 year break. During that time, I gained more and more weight and my blood pressure shot up. I finally adjusted my diet and began exercising in an attempt to stay off the blood pressure medication. I joined a very nice local gym which had just opened. It is a gym that specialises in MMA training. I don’t have any interest in fighting but I really liked the conditioning classes and so I began. Of course the classes were super tough but because it was a brand new gym, there weren’t that many people yet so I managed to keep up. Before you know it, I was stronger and fitter and I began to increase the number of classes I was taking. I could handle it, I thought and at a peak I was taking 8 classes a week. I loved the fact that I could do all those classes and keep up.
In between, I would take 3 week breaks here and there since I didn’t train when I went home to Tokyo and I had cataract surgery and had to stop for almost 4 weeks. I noticed when I came back, I was stronger. I thought it was strange and there were people at the gym who would suggest that it was a sign my body needed rest. Well, I just had three weeks off, that should be enough rest.
Then I took my annual summer holiday with my family. Since it is a holiday involving my entire family, I treat myself to a personal trainer to keep the stress levels down. I was chatting with him about my routine at home and he said to me, “that’s just a lot of stress on your central nervous system” a sentiment that was echoed on a programme I listened to on London Real TV. I also noticed that while I was away and training 3 times a week, I felt great and lost weight. So finally I began thinking about how much I was doing and came to the conclusion it was too much.
Since I’ve been home, I have added one more day off so now I go to the gym 4 times a week and do 5 classes and you know, I feel so much better and stronger when I go to class. I can go all out during the classes knowing that I have the next day to rest and recover. Maybe you know these things when you’ve been involved in sports your whole life. I never was, so it never occurred to me that you could do too much exercise. But as with everything else, it doesn’t matter what anyone says if you’re not ready to hear it. I’m glad I was ready before I did any real damage.
I am not by nature a patient person. Perhaps it’s the by product of being a determined urbanite my entire adult life. I like things to happen quickly, that is one of the main reasons I don’t shop online, I need to be able to bring it home with me right then.
But the universe is a funny place and after 51 years, it has decided that I need to learn to be patient. So I have embarked on a couple of things that require time.
The first thing is my new business. It took probably 2 years from talking about it to holding the first cooking class. It turns out I needed all that time to think it through and be comfortable with what I am doing. Not being particularly concerned about the long term, I never thought about what would happen after I started it. So great, it’s launched, now what? It turns out I need to sell people on it, get them interested, excited and want to come. Here’s another discovery, I am rubbish at selling. So here I am, making classic marketing mistakes that I have counselled many friends against. So the business will grow slowly, along with my abilities as a salesperson. Again, patience is required.
The second thing is my fitness. I altered the way I eat about 18 months ago and what started as a 30 day experiment has turned into a lifestyle. I was overweight with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I fixed my diet and slowly got back into shape. Then I stepped it up a notch by joining a gym which I chose for the very superficial reason of proximity and newness. It is a place where fighters come to train. I started doing conditioning classes because again, it was convenient and now I am hooked. But transforming myself from a creature who loves nothing better than to hang on the sofa, to one that can sustain a serious workout for 45 minutes will take some time. My biggest challenge at the moment is my boxing class. I love it but it’s also really scary. It is challenging the notion of who I am and what I do. There is no sparring involved so I am in no danger of being knocked out. But this is serious business that requires absolute concentration. I have never been sporty so I find myself constantly over thinking. Plus I have never been a fan of boxing so the entire experience is very alien to me. You get the picture, a fish out of water desperately trying to grow legs. I’m going to stick with it even though I feel incredibly awkward and hope that in time, it will become more natural. It helps that everyone at the gym has gone out of their way to be nice to me. Thank you for being so supportive.
So here I am learning to take things slowly and enjoy the journey. Maybe I will savour these victories more because they took time to achieve? I don’t know, but I am willing to wait to find out.
ps while looking for a suitable picture to put in this blog, I came across this fascinating article
Maybe everyone knows about it already, I do tend to live in a news vacuum. It turns out the way I am is well documented. Go figure, and I thought I was special.
Looking back on the first half of this year (okay, it’s a little over half) I’ve noticed that this year has been full of beginnings and endings. I thought I would recap some of them to see if I can see a pattern.
Hubby took a job in another country, thus ending a period of self employment. It is also the beginning of a commuting marriage although so far he’s doing most of the commuting. It is only a 1 hour time difference but still makes communicating a bit tricky.
I started teaching cooking classes at home which signals the end of many years of raising children and thinking up crazy schemes. It turns out that the simplest idea is the easiest to launch, go figure.
Because I am such a great time waster, I have also started doing translating work. The deadlines force me to plan my time, something of an alien concept for me.
My son graduated from senior school, or high school to those outside the UK. We went to the ceremony, got a glimpse of what his life has been like the last 5 years and loved that he has made such great friends. He is home now for a gap year after having been away at school. I’m sure this will take some adjusting on both sides, but I am looking forward to it.
My daughter finished her first year at uni and is moving into a house for the autumn. She will really have an address that has nothing to do with home.
I began a new exercise regime. Now this is brand new. I had joined a gym last year when I overhauled my eating to get into shape. I was lucky enough to meet up with a great personal trainer who really knew his stuff. But the gym itself wasn’t great and it became harder to get to once we moved. I realized that for the last couple of months I was only going to the gym to see him. So it was a waste from both a financial and fitness perspective. Then a new gym opened in my neighbourhood. I had been watching it being built for months, since it is so close to my flat. But when I told my son it said it was a mixed martial arts gym, he said to me, “that’s cage fighting, mom”. Well that didn’t seem at all like the kind of place I belonged. But when they finally opened, I went on their website and saw they had classes for women. I
e mailed them basically saying that I am a 51 year old female, is this the gym for me figuring I would either get no reply or a polite this is for hard core athletes kind of answer. Instead, I got a very friendly e mail back inviting me to come down and have a look around.
To make a long story short, I went, I saw and I took my first boxing class. It was lots of fun, the instructor was very patient and nice and made sure I was doing things correctly. Everyone on staff has been really nice too. Now I have no interest in doing any mixed martial arts, but I understand how the training could be really beneficial even for someone who doesn’t want to stomp on the other guy. Since all the classes are included in the membership, I plan to take advantage of it as long as my body holds out. Who knows, I may finally shed some of the fat that’s been covering my muscles for decades.
So I guess it’s a big transition year for me, this blog is a new thing too. I’ve been in contact with lots of different people through this blog and am following some truly fun blogs. There are lots of talented people out there.
I hope the rest of the year is as action packed as the first half. Stay tuned.