The second coming

It’s always harder the second time around. Coming back for round two. The second kilometre. The second rep. The second day. The second round. The second time coming. And here I am on round two, stage two, attempt two of the fitness regime for the year. Frankly, I’m just amazed I was able to last 4 dedicated months, before having that preordained break.

I have never been one for holding the same regimen for month after month. Mixing things up, alternating routines, changing gyms, switching forms of exercise has always been the way to go. What can I say, I am inherently restless. Settling is not something I do. So when I began exercising in October this year, I chose running because I needed to make a beginning after weeks of frustrating fits and starts. At the start of the sabbatical, I did the stupid thing of trying to bounce right back into a high-intensity Jillian Michaels routine that I had been doing off and on for a couple of years, with no regularity at all. And the only thing it did for me is show me just how out of shape I was. Panting mid-circuit, having to stop, huffing and puffing, unable to breathe, I felt like shit. To make things worse, my gut would hang loose and got in the way of half the moves. My butt felt as big as a suitcase too heavy to lug around. Not easy to manage either when trying to do burpees and mountain-climbers, you see.

So running, it was. Also, because running came easy. Rather low-intensity, I could pick my pace and stick with it. It largely involved just one move and all I had to do was gradually build my stamina and regain my endurance. Slowly but surely, I began to look forward to my running time as me-time, tuning into my music and switching off from all else for that one hour. I even forgot about my gut that could house a baby kangaroo and my butt that could hide a small litter of kittens. I would just focus on running longer, sustaining myself and gradually increasing time and distance. By December, I was clocking 7 kilometres to an hour. Not very impressive by itself, but good for a comeback runner like me (the kind with a massive butt and a little-too-large gut.)

Somewhere down the line I tried on my skinny jeans — the ones I had hidden away for over a year. And they fit. Not that that was the ultimate aim, but since my goal is to get back to being my fitter, toned self rather than losing weight per se, and in the absence of a weighing scale to check, the jeans were my benchmark. I don’t know what happened in between, except that I stopped thinking about the flab, and just focused on getting out there and running at least 6 days a week, come what may.

It was around then that my knees began to hurt. Not the kind of muscle tension that comes from being worked out, but the kind of stretchy-ache that you know is bad news. When I would get up from a chair in a rush, my knees would make me wince and hold me back. I’d be blinded by white spots when I woke up in the morning and sprung out of bed like I’m used to. A few days of ignoring it and powering on reduced me to a hobble, with excruciating pain that slowed me down even when I wasn’t working out. I consulted an orthopaedic doctor and a sports trainer who gave me a bunch of strengthening exercises and stretches for my knees, in addition to the basic stretches I was already doing. *Yawn* — more stretching? I know, I know, its criminal not to, but that turned me of running, and I reduced myself to a steady, brisk walk.

Two months of that and I was beginning to feel fitter, stronger and toned. Clothes began to fit, my hunger seemed to be falling into place and I was feeling energetic and good.

Cut to mid-February, when I ran into a hectic time and that was the end of it. For the first time since October my dedicated efforts to exercise regularly came to a grinding halt. Again. General distractions in life combined with two trips out of Goa, in quick succession, meant no semblance of a routine.

When I came back last week, I knew it was time for round two. The painful second coming. I could feel my lethargic body telling me to get moving. On Monday, I gave it a crack. It’s horrifically hot and I don’t want to risk dehydration and exhaustion by going out to walk/run, and because I have been contemplating starting something new to get a more complete work out, I took this break as a good reason. And I have resumed the Jillian Michaels 6week-6Pack. But don’t be fooled, I am not aiming for a 6pack. That abysmal gut I told you about? It has a long way to go before it reaches 6pack stage, and I’m not aiming to get there anytime soon.

Three days in, I am feeling like a cow that has been stretched out of shape. I feel like someone worked a meat mallet on my butt, obliques and inner thighs. A bit battered, because even the beginner modifications of level 1 have the potential to kick your butt Jillian-Michaels-style, and that is enough to make a significant difference. Even in just three days. Today, I could really tell the difference. I took fewer breaks, stayed with my moves longer and didn’t give up. Aside from still cheating on the mountain-climbers (I really hate those things!), I think this has been a good, refreshing change for me.

I still have starting trouble, and because I am left to my own mercies, within the four walls of my home I tend to push getting started till its very late. But 10-12 minutes in, when I am melting down nose-first, and I feel the first kicks of endorphin rush in, I begin to feel really good. Sometimes I need a little nudge in the form of peppy music, and this was yesterday’s endorphin pill:

The flip side to working out hard is to watch ones diet. Something I have not been able to do with any level of success thus far. I am too much of a foodie to really exercise self-control. So in the interest of teaching myself some restraint as well as general well-being, I briefly considered modifying my eating habits a bit. Diets and me do not get along, so nothing drastic. I decided to cut back on desserts for a month. That plan flew out of the window 10 days in, when I stuffed my face on cheese-cake, banoffee-pie, and sticky-date-cake, in Delhi, and I have not managed to get back on track. So, yeah, no — not happening. I also tried to up my protein and roughage, and cut back on the rice, but I am such an immense southie, I *heart* my rice. All three (small) helpings of it sometimes (gasp!). So no, that wasn’t a very successful plan either. I’m beginning to think the oversized gut and the butt might have something to do with it, maybe?

And now I’m back to relying wholly on just the physical exercise. This work out is shorter, but more intense and works out more muscle groups. Here’s hoping I last through the second coming and push through to the other side, because if Jillian Michaels cannot drop-kick and whip my ass (and belly) back into shape now, nothing and nobody can.

26 thoughts on “The second coming

  1. So I’ve realized that the best way to lose weight is travel. When I came back from my 3 month trip, everyone went on about how skinny I had become. This despite eating hearty meals and never passing up on the dessert throughout the trip; maybe all that walking countered it. I didn’t actually realize I’d gotten skinny until I found I fit into my college jeans from ten years ago. And that every single time I dressed up and went out, my friends pointed out that I’d become skinny. Ironically, I didn’t lose a singe kilo, but apparently all the fat just melted. And now I’m on such a high from my new found slimness and the compliments that I’m finally working out (after years of intending to) just so the fat doesn’t come back. I’m also planning to start swimming since that’s probably the best way to tone. This is the closest I have come to my dream of having a bikini ready body. Now lets see how long this new found enthu will last


  2. Hiya! You know I had to (excuse the pun) – “weigh in” here (heheh i’m funny :P) – Jillian Michaels is great – I took her 30 day shred with me to HK when all I had was a tiny studio apartment for 3 months and she kicked my butt like nothing before.

    That being said – there’s a saying – “Abs are made in the kitchen” – so crunches will strengthen your core but you won’t get abs until you get rid of the top layer lol. So “clean eating” – meaning unprocessed, whole foods – lots of veggies, lean protein, some grains, good fats and lots of water will get you there.

    Hi Deepa!! By the way – after doing the Quitting Sugar thing – my philosophy has become a lot more gentle on myself – I don’t live fructose free, but I guess “low sugar” when I can. I don’t miss out on birthday cake or icecream – just acknowledge that they are treats for me and not an everyday occurrence. I still highly recommend Sarah’s program to get you started on getting rid of the sugar cravings, because that was the biggest take away from that for me.

    Also…I have plans…big plans, to be revealed in the coming year. New blog – new qualifications – new business. Doing the planning work now before baby arrives, but gist of it is that I’ll keep current blog as personal one where I can ramble and have a new one that is more dedicated one to healthy living and also, in time, will launch my health coach business :)


    1. Oh yes, the shred. I did that for a good 6 months in 2010 and it was so good. Of course youre completely right about the eating to complement it. Which is probably why no matter how hard i work out i will never end up looking like JM. which is fine by me though. Im looking to strengthen and tone actually. And that takes care of the basic burning of flab for me. I dont want washboard abs. I quite like a little bump :D

      And OMG that is awesome news about the business. Im already sure you will rock it. So i cant wait. Then i can write in and get advice :)


  3. Oh dear……I SHOULD NOT have read this just after I devoured a huge slice of mum’s birthday cake (which I made by the way so I can’t even kid myself as to what is in it!).
    Jillian terrifies me…….and not in the good way that springs me into action, more like a ‘curl up in the corner in the foetal position’ kinda way.
    You should read Sarah Wilson’s blog and her interesting take on exercise. I’m not saying it works for everyone but its food for thought (which is the calorie-free kind).


    1. Hahaha, listen, Cake? Is good. Eat on.
      As for Sarah Wilson, I havent read her book, but I am familiar with her blog and her philosophy, but I find it largely not possible in India where we dont have access to as many substitutes for sugar and so many other ingredients she uses. BTW have you read/met Sig from Oz-land? Thats where I first read about Sarah Wilson..

      Sig, meet Deepa. Deepa, meet Sig!


      1. No yaar I just meant the exercise part of it. I’ve cut down on sugar but I could never do the fructose free thing. I think the husbands sanity would suffer if I tried that!
        Had a quick look at sigs blog and it looks great.


  4. I’m like you, my major goal is not so much about losing weight as it is to being fit and getting toned. I also cannot do any sort of diet, cos dil se I’m this anti-establishment kinda person who will automatically rebel against anything like that.

    But I was just disgusted with my lifestyle (which you’ve read about obviously) and I finally mustered the willpower to get started on exercising this week. Started out with a brisk half-hour walk to get back into the groove, yoga in the mornings, and yesterday, I got back to jogging. I feel great (obviously, not lost weight, but energy levels are up!) and I just hope this can continue and won’t stop again cos of a work trip or something.

    *fingers crossed* (for you and me both! :D)


  5. I tried Jillian once, yes it made my body like a rock- hard like a rock which cant even walk on its own :/ I never tried. My bua who is 50, does it regularly since years and period, she looks some 30. :/ You are also with Jillian, its time for me to introspect then :P


    1. No rules I think.. whatever floats your boat. I need variety, and I need high intensity, and for me half the kick from a workout is the endorphin rush. Of which I get a HUGE dose from jillian. Hence I keep going back. I was walking like a rock trying to walk for two days last week. Now Im getting back to normal :P I think the first 3-4 days are the worst, then your body gets used to it.


  6. I feel your “new beginning” pangs! I also started on Monday – I feel better already but it’s still a total b***h to get out of bed. Ugh. The need to do anything at all to stay fit and healthy sucks. I wish being a couch potato and snacking on unhealthy stuff did it for you!


    1. Yeah the morning thing is never happening for me, Iv resigned to the fact. That ship sailed when I was, erm..18, and in love with VC enough to go for a jog with him. Now the both of us sleep. Though he did manage to start running in between until work got crazy. Me? I dont have any excuses. Im just lazy


      1. I find the evening (after work) equally hard. At least in the morning, it’s done and taken care of. I don’t need to worry about it for the rest of the day :)

        I’m hoping to get in some variety too next month on – alternate with yoga, cycling and swimming. Just walking or running will bore me in a while, as usual!


        1. Oh yeah after a days work the evening thing is a bitch. But considering I only resumed serious exercise after I quit, the evening thing works. I have way too much happening in the morning after I have woken up, maid, breakfast, space to work out unless I wake up early, which I cant do :/


    1. Somehow snacks and healthy dont meet very easily no? I try, but I get bored and unless I massively innovate (which I invariably cannot keep up the pace with) I run out of ideas very easily..


      1. no there are tons! like wholewheat pita chips. make em with some herbs and bake em till theyre khakra. hummus. all sorts of grain crackers. my thing is i like salt and bread texture so i dont actually like potato chips as much as say matri.


        1. Yes yes its there, but to make and consume means Id have to keep making means Id have to live in the kitchen. Which I almost do anyway. Any more and my friends and family will disown off.


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