Find the right exercise for you
Discovering a fitness activity that you enjoy, alongside healthy eating, can make a difference to your weight loss and help you maintain your new shape. To mark the beginning of national Move More Month, this week we’re meeting three Slimming World members who have finally found the workout that works for them. First up is Monday’s motivator, Jenn Guinane, who’s love of dance helped her lose nearly 90lbs…*
“For a long time, exercise seemed like something to be endured, rather than enjoyed—and worst of all, it wasn’t even helping me to lose weight. I’d signed up with my husband Paul’s personal trainer, after seeing how motivating he found the boot camps and strength training sessions, and had been working out twice a week for nine months…yet I was still more than 240lbs and a size 16.
It dawned on me that it was time to try a different way of exercising—while one-on-one workouts worked for lots of people, including Paul, they just weren’t my thing. I’d also realized that exercise alone wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be. My sister Claire was doing well with Slimming World, so I decided to join, too. And as I’d always loved going out dancing, I thought I’d give dance-based workouts a try instead.
It was as if a weight had been lifted. Not enjoying my exercise program had been making me feel guilty, and even a little bad about myself. Now, I realized that healthy lifestyle changes didn’t have to feel that way. I signed up to a gym five minutes from my home that offered lots of different activity classes, including Zumba. For my first Zumba class, I headed straight to the back of the room, then tried to follow the instructor as she demonstrated the first routine. Everyone around me appeared to be finding it easy, while I was taking lots of breaks and struggling to follow the steps. Even so, I knew without a doubt I’d be back next week. The enthusiasm in the room was contagious and the music made my hips want to shimmy!
At the same time, I was getting the grip of Food Optimizing, Slimming World’s healthy eating plan. I filled up on hot breakfasts, hearty home-cooked soups for lunch, and satisfying curries or chili with rice at night. The pounds were coming off week after week, and at each twice-weekly Zumba class I struggled less. As I built up my confidence and fitness, I edged towards the front of the room to have a go at the more complicated, higher-energy moves. I realized I actually looked forward to going to Zumba—enjoying the friendly atmosphere, the headspace and the ‘me’ time.
The closer I got to my target weight of 150lbs, the more my energy increased and, with the help of Body Magic, Slimming World’s get-started activity program, I found ways to incorporate even more movement into my week. I pushed my younger daughter Daisy’s stroller everywhere instead of taking the car, and in the evening, when Paul was home and she and her sister Molly were in bed, I’d go out for a walk in the fresh air. I even dug out some old fitness DVDs. For the first time in my life, I was enjoying being active. In fact, my whole life seemed more fun.
I look like a different woman now, and I feel like one, too. Molly, Daisy and I love to jump around together to music and Molly even likes to play-act at going to Zumba—it’s great that she’s inspired by my active lifestyle. Whether I’m throwing shapes in my exercise class, or dancing at home with the girls, I feel better than I have in years!”
Find your perfect fitness fit
Identify the best time of day
Think about your commitments and lifestyle, and be honest with yourself about when you’re most likely to feel motivated. Are you a morning person who has energy first thing? Would you find it easier to fit in a session during the day? Or would you rather unwind with a walk or a fitness class after the kids are in bed?
Don’t be afraid to try something new
There are all sorts of activities that can get your heart rate up—hiking, golf, weights classes, martial arts, basketball…Think outside the box and look for something that inspires you. Then, give it a go!
Get yourself a fitness buddy
Ask a pal to join you for a regular walk or swim, or join a gym together. Beginning new exercise habits with a supportive friend takes away the nerves, motivates you to stick with it and turns working out into quality social time. Or you could join a class, like Jenn did, and meet new people there.
Make the little things count
Incorporate exercise into your daily routine by walking that bit further with the dog each night, getting off the bus a stop early, or cycling to work instead of driving. Even committing to taking the stairs instead of using the elevator makes a difference—it all adds up!
Inspired? You’ll find lots more support and inspiration on our website, helping you to make real, lasting changes and lose weight for life.
If you’re planning to start a new exercise program, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider first—especially if you have an existing health condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma.
*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and the amount you have to lose.