Se7en+1 Things I Didn’t Expect About Getting Back Into Gym…

It is time to talk about gym… I know again. I try not to bombard my feed with workout posts but last night I went for a run on the beach with my kids… and six months ago I could not have dreamed of doing that ever again. An actual run along the beach. Honestly, I thought I would never ever run again, but what I thought was the inevitable knoll of time marching on was really just my absolute lack of exercise. It is exciting, I have no idea where this is going, or what I might be doing six months from now. What I can say is that I am beyond thrilled to find that I am still here, and the person that loves the great outdoors and being active might have been lost for a while, but I am getting me back.


This year I have been blogging my journey to health over on the Sport Science Website and I thought I would pop all the posts I have written over there in one spot over here. It has been a while since my first nervous ventures into the gym, way back in February and it has taken a while for me to get into the swing of a totally new way of life. What can I say… I love being fitter, I love being lighter and I really love that feeling of waking up in the morning because I am finished sleeping. I am a work in progress and there are many miles to go on my journey… What started as a quest to survive the Eight Week Beginner Healthy Weight Programme has turned into a Journey back to health.

Se7en+1 Things I Didn’t Expect About Getting Back Into Gym.

  1. I Never Expected to Lose Weight: My goal was very firmly to move. I wanted to move comfortably. But as I got moving I felt better and better… I had to change my sleeping habits in order to get to gym on time. The better I slept, the better my workouts were, and the better I could move. And the more I moved, the more I started to lose weight… that inspired me to see where I wasn’t eating well and to tackle that little bit by little bit. I don’t eat perfectly by any means… but I am no longer reward driven. I don’t “deserve” edible treats for getting through the day and I don’t want them either. In fact the other day in a moment of frustration I thought, “I really just need to get out and go for a run.” This is huge, in the past I would thought, “I really need a chocolate to calm down!!!” Eating better, definitely means better workouts and remember my goal is to move better. So eating better and sleeping better are right up there with helping me to move better.
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  3. I was in Such Bad Shape: Honestly, I was in bad shape… yes I could go for a hike/walk with the kids once a week… yes I could walk to the store or the library… but I didn’t like it, and I would make every excuse not to need to. It turns out I was avoiding everything called exercise, because I was just so uncomfortable doing it. Hiking up a mountain is a glorious thing, hiking up a mountain when you can hardly breathe and you know it is going to take three days to recover is a lot less glorious. I am no super athlete, but just being in slightly better shape makes everything easier… tying shoe laces, carrying the groceries, playing with kids, walks on the beach.
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    When you literally wear your gym shirt out. Who knew I would love gym so much!!!

  5. Just How Hard it is to find Great Gym Wear: The struggle to find affordable gym gear for plus size moms is real. I have blogged about it before and I am going to say it again… The Struggle is Real. Why is it that shops that sell exercise apparel think all athletes are slim and trim. Even big brand super sport stores go up to a size 18 or at the most an XL. When you mention to folk that this is what you are battling with, they look at you like you are mad. But I took twenty years off exercising properly and I cannot begin to say how many of those years were spent actually pregnant… and even longer nursing. Years of nursing babies and toddlers folks. I need supportive gym wear. It is not that I cannot do a star jump, it is simply that my apparel does not allow for it!!!
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  7. Exercise is not a Habit it is a Lifestyle: When I started working out at the beginning of the year I thought that if I just kept at it then it would become a habit. You know the idea that if you do anything for 21 days it is a habit… and if you do it for longer then you have really got it. Well I can tell you that if someone said to me, “You don’t have to get up today, the gym is closed.” I would be the first person to linger on in bed. Over the years I have changed habits, with micro-steps… just a little change here, and a little bit there. But I was at the stage where only a massive intervention would help. It isn’t a habit to get up and go to gym in the morning, much as I love that post gym feeling, I need to start my workout by getting bed timeously the night before. That isn’t a habit for me at all… that requires discipline. Every night there is a reason for me to stay up a little longer, but I have to just say no and head to sleep. At this stage I find it hard to stay in bed long after five in the morning… my body is used to working out then, but it would be just as easy to get it unused to the idea as well. A couple of late nights could put me right back where I started and I never want to go back to that place… so I am practicing the art of getting to bed on time.
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  9. Give Yourself A Little Grace: Getting up in the morning isn’t easy, but I know that once I am out the door that I won’t turn back… I literally pop out of bed, into my gym clothes and out of the door. Every single morning I tell myself that if I really can’t face the day after gym then I can return to back to bed for a nap later. I can honestly say that I have never actually done that… somehow once I have been up and at it for an hour or two, the idea of winding down again is not so appealing anymore. After gym I am ready to tackle my day!!!
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  11. My Kids need me to Think About Me Sometimes: So this may seem a little crazy, unless you have been a mom for twenty years. I never realised how much I gave my kids… I happily (read hate shopping) go without shoes for years because somebody else always needs a pair of shoes. When I began gym, I needed a pair of shoes desperately… desperately… it took me weeks to get them. Not so much because of the shoes, but because of my mindset. Getting shoes for myself meant “taking shoes from somebody else…” Similarly, one of the biggest things for me to overcome at the start of the journey, was taking time “off for myself” I felt that by taking time off I was taking time away from my kids… less time to be helping around the house, getting breakfast ready, getting their school day started. There is nothing there my kids can’t do and the more they do do, the better off they are.
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  13. Time is of the Essence: I understand mums need time, and I always took my own time for things like blogging, which I love. But I always waited for my kids to be finished with their day before I settled down to work and I would never have dreamt of blogging when I could have been spending time with my kids. It is one thing when your kids are small… small children eventually sleep… but when you have teens who want to chat or need lifts in the middle of the night and small children that are up and ready for the day before dawn… then you have to realise that working when your kids are sleeping is not sustainable. I didn’t realise that and I just kept surviving on less and less. Crazy but true. My kids need to know that I have real needs and fundamental needs. I need to sleep… I can’t stay up chatting all night, or watching a movie with them or reading with them. I have to work, so do they, if we work at the same time together, then we will have time to play together… but I absolutely have to sleep.
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  15. I have no Excuse not to be Healthy: Going to gym is not taking time away from my kids at all… as I thought it would. It is getting me healthy in ways I could never have imagined and my kids deserve a healthy mum… far more than they need a tired cranky mum who wants to spend all day every day sitting. Yes, it takes time, and yes they are all usually sleeping when I am at gym. This time for gym is an investment in my health and is a huge advantage for all of them. Really, the healthier I am the better it is, not just for me but for them too. They are all growing up, they will all leave home (they will!!!) and they will want a fit and happy granny to play with their kids too. I want to be around for them when they leave home, and not just collapsed in a heap saying: “I survived that!!!”

The changes in my life have definitely made changes in our entire family’s lives. Better sleep habits all round, healthier food choices, and a lot more folk taking a pause in their day to do a quick work out or suggesting that we go out for a walk/run. Every single hike we do begins with a steady vertical climb, if not 500 stairs. I used to dread it and only do it for that great feeling of being on top of the world… The fear of the start everytime was huge and any excuse was a good excuse not to go. That fear has moved on and I am eager to get going at a moments notice, much to some of our kids’ despair. Our weekly Park Runs have become a challenge for the whole family together, everyone trying to run/walk a bit better than they did before. It is an onwards and upwards kind of a journey and I am all for it.


Previous Posts in my Journey to Health Series Over at Sport Science

From the start…

9 Replies to “Se7en+1 Things I Didn’t Expect About Getting Back Into Gym…”

  1. Love, love, LOVE this!!! Everything you said is spot on – taking care of ourselves physically is good for us holistically, and good for our loved ones. So thrilled for all the benefits you’re experiencing!! And I’m totally inspired to keep going with my own health journey. 🙂 3 cheers & much love from our corner of the world!!

  2. Thank you Laura, keep at it!!! It has been harder than I thought it would be… and easier than I thought it would be. The hard part is always, “should I, shouldn’t I?” Take a day off, stay up late, whatever… The easy part is just deciding to show up no matter what. Slowly but surely all these little work outs add up to something… you don’t notice it day by day and suddenly everything has changed. If these had been my goals they would have seemed to big, they would have taken too long and I would have crumbled. So I will stick to: “Just get moving!!!” It works for me.

  3. Thank you for sharing this.. and being vulnerable in the process. I’ve said it before: but you really are inspiring, challenging me in this.. and not just in the area of fitness.. but the whole ‘lifestyle’ thing – getting enough sleep, taking care of ourselves as moms and considering the longer long-term effects etc.
    May you continue to have that daily inner push to keep going and be encouraged when you need it most!

  4. This post is so just hitting me in all the feels. And the clothes one especially, I hate how trying to find clothes to exercise in makes me not want to exercise because I can’t find clothes :-/

  5. Oh Carlien, thank you for your sweet words. Shew when I started the year saying “It was my getting things done year… I had no idea that it would be taking me here… I was thinking sorting a couple of closets and perhaps one or two garden projects. But no… it was an entire lifestyle change for myself. I am in it and I am doing this and I have no idea where it is taking me…I would never have guessed I could do half of what I am doing!!! I am not kidding… it hasn’t been easy and lots of times I have thought… enough already. But I always go back for more… which is a good thing. And the joy of sleep… if you do nothing else, work on that… it really is life changing. Lots of love to you all, hope you are all settling!!!

  6. Hay Cassey, I keep at it, but seriously, it is time the market realised that real women work out and we need gear. It is that simple!!! There is a market and they could be winning it!!! Lots of lekker love to you!!!

  7. What a fabulous post. And I could not agree more with the right clothing. If I find that hidden gem where they do stock clothes that actually fit a normal person, I will be the first to let you know!

  8. Hay Tarryn, thank you… so glad you enjoyed it. And yes, the struggle is real… happy hunting for wearable clothes… it is a real problem!!! Hope you have the best week ever!!!

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