This blog follows my journey as I look to get fit – building up my strength and losing some fat – as I try to improve my health in general.
My third week was a good learning experience. I continued getting myself back into a pattern of regular exercise, and I was already starting to feel some positive effects from making my diet more healthy. I had also found new ways of preventing myself from being bored at the gym.
This brings me on to the major change for week four. I would now be joined each day by one of my co-workers, who wanted to join me in trying to get fit and shed the pounds.
Progress at last
I felt an improvement in my fitness levels when it came to my latest football match at the weekend. I played the whole 90 minutes, although I did struggle with tired legs and poor lung capacity. Still, I had completed my first full match and I was making progress, which will only increase over time.
For my fourth week in the gym, I decided to increase the weight I was lifting at each station, to start building my muscles up more. Thankfully I found that I didn’t ache that much each morning this week, which was a sign to me that my body was getting more conditioned to regular exercise.
Unfortunately, my colleague wasn’t so lucky. Slowly hobbling past my desk on his way to the water cooler, it looked like he was feeling sore. Slowly crawling past my desk on his way back to his desk, it was obvious he was suffering.
Combining training types
This week, I also incorporated cardio into my workouts a bit, having not done any since week one. I have seen a number of studies, including a 2014 Harvard study, indicating that combining cardio and weight lifting is the most effective way to burn fat, which was one of my main fitness goals.
On Tuesday and Thursday (the two days when I work my upper body), I went back upstairs to the treadmills after I was done with the fixed weight machines. As he was still easing his way into it, my colleague decided to leave after the weights, at least for his first few weeks.
I set the treadmill speed to a medium pace jog for five minutes, before completing a 5km run at a faster pace, but still not fast enough to be classed as sprinting. It took me around 25 minutes to complete the run, on both days, and although it was definitely slower than my race times during school, I was still fairly content with it.
There was no rush to lower my times, and I knew that I would eventually get that time down to around 20 minutes, which was the target I set myself to give me more motivation. If you favour continuous training on the treadmill, and want to improve your performances, you could consider setting yourself targets, to push yourself further.
I was very glad I had my headphones with me, because the music made the time feel like it went much faster than it had in my first week.
I’m in shape…. but that ‘shape’ is a potato
It could quite well have been wishful thinking, but I checked myself out in the mirror at the end of the week (alright, laugh all you want) and thought I looked a bit different to when I started out.
I had hoped for as much, by week four, but I didn’t really know how long it would take before I could see any physical changes to my body. I’ve always kept myself in decent shape, so I never really noticed any changes, but now that I was trying to go from couch potato to fit, certain things caught my eye, such as my stomach.
Certain body parts felt also felt more toned and noticeably less flabby than before, and this boosted my self-esteem a little.
After four weeks of dedicated work for four days a week, I think I have managed to build my base fitness levels up to a decent level – enough for me to build on properly from here on out. From week five onwards I am aiming to raise my game more and begin to really ‘shed some fat’ and ‘sculpt my body’, and I’m really looking forward to making further progress.