Does the type of exercise you do matter?

Apparently it does! I have never really thought about the different types of exercise available and the different benefits that come with it until now.  My main aim was to find exercise that I enjoyed so that I was more motivated to keep doing it.

I suppose I am fortunate in that I enjoy different types of exercise but that has meant I have drifted from one routine to the next without really thinking about what I need for overall fitness. Running has been a constant since around 2008 but other classes have come and gone and I have never really been sure what I should include in my exercise regime.  Perhaps Owain has it easy in that he just runs and doesn’t think about anything else!

Over the last few years I have been to BodyPump, Body Balance, circuits, RPM, gravity and have really enjoyed them. The difficulty has been trying to get a balance between them for general fitness and strength as well as improve my running. 

I have mentioned before that since my illness I have lost a lot of muscle strength so over the last couple of years my focus has been on building my strength back up with circuits and then a weights programme at the gym and so my running has simply been plodding along.

For the Body Coach plan, the focus is very much on exercise as well as food. When signing up, there is an option to follow the plan or opt to do your own exercise.  To give myself the best results, I opted to follow their exercise plan.  Throughout the three cycles of the plan, the focus is very much on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to burn fat.  As you move to cycles 2 and 3, weights are introduced but the HIIT remains to complement to weight training.  Throughout the plan, you are exercising around 4 times per week, taking around 30 minutes for each session (although cycle 2 was much longer with the weights).  During the plan I did try to keep in one 5k run per week to try in order to try and keep some running fitness but overall my exercise was in fairly short sessions.  Over the three months I managed to lose 3kg, 10 inches and 3% body fat  - a reasonable result I would say.

Fit Naturally

Having completed my body coach plan, I started thinking about what I wanted my weekly exercise to look like. I have now joined Owain following a fitnaturally eating plan and sought some advice from Sally, the fitnat Director, as to what exercise I should be doing.  Interestingly, Sally has recommended doing a couple of medium to long steady runs per week, perhaps with a shorter harder run of 30-40 minutes, and some cross training.  The longer runs have been recommended as well as the short fast stuff because of the different energy systems used and she has suggested that I focus on endurance for the next few months.  That being said, it is all caveated with a need to find something that I enjoy.

I find all this fascinating. I have never really thought about the effect different exercise has on my body.  I intend to follow Sally’s advice and have already managed a few early morning longer runs.  I am really interested to see the effect the change in exercise has on my weight loss results, combined with a different approach to eating.  I have now been following the eat naturally plan for about a week and a half and will be blogging over the next few weeks about how I have found it so far.

I would be interested to find out the thinking behind the exercise others do. Perhaps like me no-one has sat down and thought about it and simply just do it (to quote a well-known sports brand!)

Mandy Williams

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