Tuesday 31 January 2012

Fatness v Fitness

Tuesday 31 January 2012
When it was pointed out to me that my life is pretty active compared to some fitter looking, slimmer people, I was surprised. In my opinion, I'm lazy. I don't spend hours on the weekend hiking through nature or slog it out for hours at the gym. I'm more than happy to spend an entire weekend without leaving my 7th floor apartment and the only movement I get is wandering to the fridge to grab another drink (alcoholic or otherwise).

There's no doubt about it - to shed the kilos/pounds/stones exercise has to become a part of life and on an almost daily basis. For those lucky people with normal metabolisms, a little extra exercise does wonders - adding in an extra walk a couple of times a week or a few sit-ups at the end of each day.

Unfortunately I have a painfully slow metabolism. This has been proven through previous weight loss regimes of tracking diet and exercise. It takes me a lot longer than most to shed even the smallest amount of weight and conversely I stack it on a heck of a lot faster than anyone else. It's not an excuse, it's just the way it is and I have to learn - relearn - to manage it appropriately without resorting to diet pills and exercising like a maniac. The diet pills screw with metabolism and my permanent back injury prevents maniacal physical exertion. 

Part of managing my metabolism and keeping it firing on all two cylinders is, obviously, exercise. I'm told exercising at an intensity that is high enough to get your heart rate up and get you a bit sweaty and out of breath leads to longer lasting benefits. That's right - even after exercise your body keeps its metabolism up, and therefore fat-burning power for hours after exercising (Source Sweat Science). 

At the moment my success or otherwise with exercising regularly is strongly linked to the weather. Using Brisbane's public bike hire scheme, City Cycle, I've been slowly working on upping my high intensity cardio workouts. It's about 15-20 minutes of bike riding from Brisbane's CBD to my place in Toowong. I'm a novice when it comes to riding bikes, my balance is poor and I'm terrified of falling off. Any day when it is wet/raining I'm disinclined to get out in the rain. Hopefully in time I will become more confident and this will pass.

In addition, I have a personal trainer. She's an exercise physiologist, which means that she understands how the body works and if I have any aches and pains (particularly in my non-compliant back) we can still exercise without aggravating injury. I train with her usually once each week - but again it's outdoors and if it's raining or inclement I'm disinclined to get into it.

Catching public transport also adds in extra incidental exercise - walking to the station or ferry stop and then the walk from the city-side stop to work. It all adds up.

To help me monitor how active I actually am, I've invested in a little piece of kit, called the 'fit bit'. It's a pedometer and a calorie output tracker. Today is my first full day of using it, so I'll report back on my findings in a future post. 

Am I an active person? Am I the slob I think I am? Stay tuned.

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