It’s been cold, wet and miserable. I woke up and I didn’t want to get out of bed at all. I had planned to go to Aqua Fit which started at 10 and it was now 9.15. I was lying in bed, looking up through the skylight, while my in my head my conscience had a debate with my body over whether I will really get out of bed and go to the gym as planned. Couldn’t I justify not going this once?? My bed was pretty warm and comfortable, thank you very much.

Gazing up through the skylight I realised I was looking at a blue sky and sunshine. That’s what made me get out of bed. There was no motivation, and I wasn’t “get up and go about the diet” at all really, but it was sunny, so I made it to the gym. Sometimes it’s whatever it takes to get you out of the door.

When I actually got to the gym, I had a really good session and I actually left feeling refreshed, if exhausted. I arrived for my Aqua Fit Class which I thought was at 9.45 only to find out it was actually an hour later. Now, usually I’d use this lapse in diary management as an excuse to leave the gym “sharpish”. On this day, however, perhaps because I didn’t want to feel like I’d abandoned my bed in vain, I stayed and challenged myself to swim for the hour before the class.

Now understand when I say “swim”, I’m using the term in its loosest possible sense. I don’t want you thinking of me gracefully gliding through the water from one end of the pool to the other, feet never touching the floor. Oh no … me: I’m working up to that. Me: I swim ugly.

We’re talking splashing and thrashing and generally trying to move my all too large and definitely not aerodynamic body from one end of the pool to the next in a mish mash of semi coordinated movement that, with a little imagination on the part of the observer, looks somewhat like the precise strokes I once had drummed into me in swim class.

I make no apology for it… because, well, I have as much right to be in the pool as all the lean coordinated swimmers who actually care about style. At this point, moving in any form or fashion is more exercise than I was doing before and its all got to be beneficial. Despite the ugliness, I quite enjoy it and find it somewhat relaxing.

So, that’s what I did: I swam ugly for an hour then had my usual Aqua Fit Class. When I got out of the pool, boy could I feel it!

I rewarded myself for my effort, not with the usual chocolate bar, but instead chose a sugar free date and banana flapjack despite being a little nervous of my selection. I loved it!

I had one of the most enjoyable mornings and felt in a much better place mentally when I went to bed that night.

Sometimes this “get fit” thing is totally overwhelming. I have such a long way to travel that it’s easy to be intimidated and hopeless because of the amount of change I need to make. But, this day was just about making one good decision at a time. It doesn’t really matter what tools I use to help me make the right choice, whether it is the unusual presence of the sunshine, or setting myself a little challenge, choosing a healthy snack. I’m trying to trust in the process, trying to believe that if I can just keep making one good choice at a time it will eventually lead where I want to go…. but it’s not always easy.

Ali xX

That E word again.

Exercise – blech.

I few weeks ago, I attended a couple of aqua-natal sessions at a local pool. These classes were run by a lovely midwife and I chose to attend her class as part of my training. I’m supposed to write a full reflection on my learning experience for Uni and that I will so we don’t need to go into all the details here. Suffice to say, it’s a great way for pregnant women to continue to exercise and suits all levels of fitness plus its sociable and actually quite fun.

I’ve always had an affinity with water; oceans, rivers, lakes, babbling brooks, fountains, even a running tap sometimes. I just find water both appealing and beautiful. My favorite way to relax has to be a shower or a long soak in a bath full of bubbles. As a result, I believe (though of course I do not know) that water would actually work quite well for me as pain relief in labor. Because of this, I suppose, water birth really interests me and I am keep to develop my skills in this area, I suppose that’s why I chose to investigate Aqua-natal.

Still this choice did mean getting in my bathing suit in front of a class full of pregnant women, some of whom at 6 months pregnant are still smaller than me – a prospect which almost made me forget the whole thing. Understanding this before I had to say it out loud, the midwife made the suggestion that I could wear a t-shirt in the pool if that would make me feel more comfortable. So along with a classmate off I went…

And actually I had a good time! The class was a lot of fun… and between the fits of giggles and the some of the discussion I ended up having around how water supports the joints and that the class works as a good way for pregnant women who haven’t exercised much, to begin doing so in a safe environment… somewhere in there this curious thought kept crossing my mind. Perhaps this could work for me too.

A few weeks ago around the luck table between classes some of my friends were discussing their next visit to the gym – a little despondent that they hadn’t been going as often as they liked. I remember joking that they were doing a lot better than me seen as myself and the gym have this relationship where every so often the gym debits some money from my bank account and this allows me to pretend I have good intentions about exercising sometime in the not to distant future. In fact, I have had a membership at a local gym since December but I was so embarrassed and awkward after my induction that I hadn’t been back since.

… Until a couple of weeks ago, when fresh from my fun night at aqua-natal, I signed up for their Thursday night Aquarobics session. I was literally shaking like a leaf and it took every ounce of courage and then some to walk through the door. Things didn’t exactly go to plan. There I was, trying to scan my card to get in, the barcode thingy not responding when a charming size 8 fitness instructor leaned over the desk and giggled “shall I let you in?… you know you actually have to talk to us.”  Cringe… actually right then I wanted all of us to just pretend I wasn’t there in this world where I clearly didn’t belong. Next I couldn’t get the padlock for my locker to work and spent so long worrying about it that I was late for the start of the class… which completely foiled my plan of arrive early and get into the pool before anybody notices you.  You think walking through the door of the gym was bad?  No way… walking out to the pool area a hippo in a swim suit in front of a pool full of women already in the throws of an exercise class … that, my friend, is a really test of your determination.  Once I actually did it though, the class wasn’t too bad. I’m not sure I actually enjoyed that first class at all, to be perfectly honest. After my nice gentle aqua-natal experience, the difference in intensity level was a bit of a shock to the system.   I was malcoordinated, I couldn’t keep up, and all the other ladies knew what they were doing whereas I couldn’t really hear the instructions well,  making my newness completely painfully obvious.

However, the music was loud and punchy, girly and wonderfully cheesy in a way which made me smile. Seriously, I would never admit to listening to some of these tracks outside of exercise class where the music selection is clearly not my responsibility and therefore I can’t be held accountable haha.

That single fact alone was enough to make me give the class another go… well, that and perhaps I was feeling a little guilty for enjoying too much good food and wanted to see if the class would act as a bit of damage limitation. My second class was actually FUN.  I’ve been trying to fit a couple of these classes in each week for a few weeks now, and I’m honestly enjoying myself. Plus walking into the gym might feel almost too cringeworthy to bear… but I’ll tell you something: walking out again after a class  that feels amazing like for that one day  you conquered the world.

Ali xX