Commentary: Life events disrupted my exercise routine, but I’m staying positive as I pick things up again.
I was incredibly proud of myself last year when I began a new at-home workout plan and managed to lose a great amount of weight in a relatively short amount of time. But when life threw up some major challenges, including buying and moving into my first home, my habits were tested. Now in the first quarter of 2022, it’s time to get back on a good footing.
I began my journey in January 2021 weighing around 231 pounds (105kg), after having gained weight during the lockdown (and, if I’m honest, having a generally lax approach to exercise). After about two months, I’d brought my weight down to 200 pounds (91kg) through regular exercise with Apple Fitness Plus and cycling on my Wattbike Atom.
I’m a creature of habit, so I relied on those habits to make sure daily exercising was something I did by default. Then in June, my partner and I bought our first home and went through the lengthy (and stressful) process of packing, moving, unpacking and doing basic renovations over a period of several months. My exercise routine was disrupted and I struggled to pick it back up as the holidays approached.
It’s easy, and sometimes disheartening, to get out of good diet and exercise habits, particularly when big life events get in the way. But I’m careful not to say that the habit was “broken.” The desire is certainly still there, and the solid foundation and knowledge of my preferred workout regimen is going to put me on a stronger footing when I start again this year.
Plus, achieving a great all-round exercise experience at home has never been easier. Here’s how I’m getting back into the swing of things. If your own exercise routine took a hit over the holidays, here’s how you can do it, too.
Setting a plan
First, it’s important to have some kind of plan or goal in mind. I have a couple of key markers: I’m getting married in April and want to fit more easily into my suit. Then, I’m going on my honeymoon in September, so my longer goal is to lose excess body fat and gain some muscle definition. That way, I can be more comfortable shirtless on Sicily’s beaches.
My weight hasn’t really changed — it’s almost to the pound what I weighed when I stopped exercising last year. Physically however, there’s less muscle definition in my arms, chest and back, which I had been pleased to see develop throughout my journey. I don’t have specific weight goals, since the number on the scale doesn’t tell the full story. Instead, I’m using a less rigid measuring system: I look in the mirror to gauge progress, and use the scale only as a guide.
My approach to weight loss will remain two-fold. I’ll be returning to daily workouts, mixing cardio and strength training with the Wattbike and Apple Fitness Plus. With my set of interchangeable dumbbells, I’ll be using Fitness Plus mostly for strength classes, using the guidance of the classes — displayed on my living room TV via my Apple TV and Apple Watch — to ensure I’m moving safely with proper form.
For cardio, I’ll move to the Wattbike Atom — a competition-standard indoor stationary bike that’s incredibly smooth to ride and links to my iPad and to the Zwift app. Zwift puts you into a virtual world, and as you pedal in real life, so does your avatar, with the resistance on the bike changing dynamically as your character goes up and down hills. This combo has been groundbreaking for me and made indoor cycling genuinely fun. I even look forward to my cycle sessions, rather than begrudgingly clambering on the bike just because I have to.
With an indoor bike and Fitness Plus, I can simply fire up the app and bash out a 30-minute workout session when I have a free moment. No need to dedicate an hour or more to get to a gym for a workout. It makes exercising something I can fit in with my other plans, rather than being “the thing” I do that evening. It feels more sustainable as part of a busy lifestyle.
But exercise is only half the equation. I’ll need a renewed focus on a better diet if I’m going to meet my goals. The holidays were somewhat of a constant binge of food and drink, so I’m working on cutting down my alcohol and sugar intake and generally eating healthier.
A positive outlook
In essence, things have changed but also stayed the same. My goals remain roughly identical, as do my methods in pursuing them. And that’s kind of the point here: Taking a break from exercise doesn’t mean despairing about “undoing” the hard work. It wasn’t a “failure,” and it doesn’t mean starting from square one.
Instead, I’m using what I’ve learned and applying it fresh, picking up from where I left off and keeping a positive outlook about my fitness plans, which will hopefully serve me well.