I’ll share about my fitness routine. I did not devise it according to some methodological plan because I am not training for any goals (at the moment, at least). I just do what makes me feel good and challenge myself by pushing a little bit harder each time.
If you do want a personalized plan though, you can arrange it with instructors here.
But firstly… how I (even) dragged myself to the gym.
I’ve grown to realize that the very high expectations I place on myself/ fear of failure become an impediment to my gym visits. It is very difficult to get used to the beautiful discomfort, and the pain. But trust me, it gets easier each time. The hardest thing of all is starting, so I’ve learnt to congratulate myself every time I make it through the doors of the gym.
I found a few lessons and instructors I thoroughly enjoyed and stuck with them. Then, as I got more comfortable being in the gym, I built up my gym visits from there.
And, going with friends really help. We started a #zumbasquad and I’m trying to find more spin class buddies but due to the Kryptonian nature of the class, I’ve only found two.
MONDAY: RUN LIKE THE WIND.
What/ how? I get onto the treadmill after my tutorial ends at 3pm. It’s pretty easy to use. Press ‘Quick Start’ and fiddle about with the buttons to find a speed that is comfortable. The incline button does get you burning more calories, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
My challenge: I started with a speed of 9.0kph and challenged myself to do a 7k. Soon, my body adjusted and I was thriving at 10.0kph for an 8k. I challenged myself by doing it with an incline of 2.0. Recently, I’ve been gunning for long distances (10k w/o incline).
Tip #1: It’s more mental than anything. When I focussed on my breathing, I realized that it was my mind telling myself that my legs are aching/ ‘this is getting boring’ while I actually did not feel much physical discomfort!
Tip #2: I mentally ‘divide it up’ to motivate myself. For a 10k, I give myself an imaginary fistpump at 2k, 4k, 6k etc. I first start off by imagining that I am doing 5k, and then at 5k, I tell myself that I am running back down a hill. Since I have already done 5k, I can do another 5k, I reasoned with myself.
TUESDAY: ‘DON’T LET ME DOWN’ AT ABT
What/how? We do side planks, lunges, v-sets, bridges, and many tough stuff to make our abs, butts and thighs firmer. It is difficult and beginners are likely to feel like crying at the first session. But beginners who stick around become experts. My body got accustomed and within a month, I could complete the sets with some competence.
About the instructor: Rhiannon’s super energy is why I’m there. She’s so inspiring, I mean, she smiles throughout the entire session. Can you believe it?! Plus, her songs are always up to date & upbeat. (‘Don’t let me down’ was what we started with this year, so I still think of ABT when that song is played.)
Tip #1: Come early, like at 5.05pm. Rhiannon’s class is so popular that we run out of yoga mats within a minute. Bring a towel (to replace the missing yoga mat) if you are going to be late!
WEDNESDAY: run wild at spin class.
What/how? We get on the spin equipment; its like a bike with pedals and a resistor that you can adjust in the middle (which makes you carry more weight, or less). We do seated sprints, standing climbs … Like, we pedal furiously for two sets of 30s > 45s > 60s, or we try to pedal at a heavier weight.
About the instructor. I love rides with Albert. His playlist is amazing (to me, at least). And he’s perfect for the role; he pushes himself and his sense of rhythm is awesome. His class is the one I look forward to in the middle of a grinding week. Occasionally, his sense of humor makes me roll my eyes (in a good way).
Tip #1: This is another tough class but get moving to the music, and the pain (sometimes, but not always) fades away. More than anything else, this class is about you pushing yourself.
THURSDAYS: TAKE YOUR PICK @ PILATES/ X-FIT/ PUMP
I don’t have a ‘fixed’ thing that I do on Thursdays. It’s like Mondays, Saturdays when I do not have a fitness class that I stick to. Sometimes I use it as my rest day. To give a brief run down,
Pump class! Sounds hard but it’s actually rather beginner-friendly. We can choose the lightest weights to start with. Tip: Approach the instructor on your first visit because there’s quite alot of equipment you need to assemble, or just watch what the others around you are grabbing 🙂 (Shoutout to Kirsty, whose awesome energy on Saturday woke me up. Sorry I only came once; will get back to it in ’17.)
More on Pilates. Quite a bit about balance, and I will share more when I write about Yoga-lates Sundays. & X-Fit. Just saying – it’s super hard. Do not go if you do not feel super fit/ feel up to the challenge.
ZUMBA FRIDAYS WITH CHRIS (#YESCHRIS #ZUMBASQUAD)
Can I just say this – I LOVE FRIDAYS WITH CHRIS.
And all my friends know that. If you search for #YESCHRIS on Facebook, you’ll see that I’ve dedicated numerous Facebook posts to his classes. And I’ve gathered a Zumba squad to go to his classes. And I’ve canvassed for votes for him on my Facebook groups when he was nominated for best fitness instructor of NZ.
Zumba + Chris is an explosive mixture and a must try for every University of Auckland peep. It is the quintessential UoA experience. When I feel low, I just need the first Zumba move to get my spirit soaring.
What/ how? Zumba is like partying (awesome music, great company, wild movement minus the drinks) + getting fit. It isn’t just movement; zumba moves are designed such that sets of crunches & squats are unwittingly sneaked into them. But, the fun overrides the exhaustion! (Super beginner friendly!)
The most important tip: Go with your friends. Bring loads of them.
Another cool tip: You will soon realize – No one is looking at you. There is no room to be embarrassed at all because most of us are fumbling along as well, and we all miss steps/ do the wrong thing. Keep going coz the dance moves repeat and by the 4th session, I knew all the dance steps. (And that is saying something for a kltuz like me).
SATURDAY – THE OUTDOORS
I used to go on loads of tramps in Semester 1 but stopped when I started to save up for backpacking trips. There are other cool stuff to do around Auckland to get fit like, climb Mt Eden, surf at Piha (did an intro lesson), swim at Parnell and run Auckland with the Auckland University Running Club (Thursdays, 5.30pm at Rec Centre entrance when Sem 1 starts).
SUNDAY – BE BALANCED AT YOGA-LATES
‘Downward dog’, ‘angry cat’, ‘Warrior 1, Warrior 2’, and our perennial favourite, ‘child’s pose’. Welcome to our world of yoga-lates, which is yoga + pilates!
What/ how? Immensely beginner friendly, we do poses that challenge our ability to balance. We focus on breathing as we complete our movements with poise and control. That does not mean that we have to be as graceful as ballerinas (definitely not me!), but that we gently place out feet back on the mat instead of crashing down in pain.
About the instructor. I love Ally. She’s super awesome. Her random chuckles and the way she teasingly pushes us to work harder in the pilates portions. She is super beginner friendly; because of her I dared to go to my first ever pump class. Her classes make you feel that waking up early on a Sunday morning is worth it.
Tip #1. Try your very best to empty your mind during Yoga-lates class, and just focus on your breath.
With only 18 days of free gym membership left till I depart, I write this tribute to the gym and the gym team. Uni gym has really been the dream gym experience.
I daresay I contributed to 7 x no. of school weeks = at least 100 visits to the gym, but that is really because my friends and the awesome instructors have made me stay on.
I dare you to take your first step into unigym next year. Seeing as I’ll be a 55 Symonds resident (was really bent on getting back into uni accommodation for free gym membership), I’ll be there too 🙂