The problem with gyms

In the last ten years I have been a member of four gyms. They have all had the same thing in common – I ended up never going to them! I often ask myself why I used put myself through the rigmarole of joining gyms one after another – a kind of gym addiction you might say.

Here are a few promises that gyms hope to deliver:-

1. Exclusive surroundings with excellent facilities.
2. A chance to meet other like minded people.
3. A range of classes under one roof that you can’t normally do such as Zumba and body balance.
4. A chance to have a ‘fitness’ schedule done for you by a trainer. They will tailor it especially for you – good if you want to lose weight.
5. Personal training for one to one fitness coaching. Your own special motivator.
6. A place to relax in the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
7. A good quality cafe serving healthy snacks such as smoothies and open sandwiches.
8. Exercise done in a ‘safe’ way with encouragement. Good if you are unfit and not done exercise in a while.
9. Creates more space for you if you live in a small flat in a big city such as London.

Here is the reality of gym membership:-

1. They are expensive (I paid £60 a month) and often very busy at peak times. It’s cheaper for off peak membership but the allowed hours often don’t fit into your working schedule.
2. Hard to get on equipment in the actual gym – queuing for tread mills and exercise bikes! There is no wait to go outside for running.
3. They take much time out of your day. If you go to the gym after work several hours or more can be washed away.
4. Exercise routines designed for you are often repetitive and not challenging enough. Gyms are scared of being sued if something horrible happens to someone.
5. You have a complete lack of fresh air. Running in an air conditioned space can’t be good for you in the long run.
6. It’s harder to motivate yourself to go to the gym often a car journey away than it is to step outside your own front door with a pair of trainers on.
7. The relaxation areas are often too tempting. I often avoided the gym and plunged in the jacuzzi instead. Came out feeling lethargic and sleepy.
8. The gym cafe will probably sell chocolate bars and muffins. Again too tempting!
9. You need to be dedicated to disciplining your social life. A quick offer of a drink after work can cancel out a night at the gym. A mile a day on the other had can be slipped in easily into your routine.
10. If you travel or have regular holidays then your exercise routine is destroyed. One back the habit has been broken and hard to get into it again. With a mile a day I can run anywhere and do. At the minute I am holiday in Mexico and enjoying my early evening runs before dinner.

These are just done reasons why I don’t have gym membership anymore. I love running out doors everyday and I encourage you to do the same.

Do any of my readers have similar stories? I would love to hear them. Please comment freely.

Milerunner

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Mini-Guide on how to have a relatively healthy all-inclusive holiday

All inclusive holidays are notorious for being very unhealthy. You’ve paid your money and want to get value for that money once there. The dangers of this are easy to see. Here are some obvious ones.

1. Overeating: ‘free’ food being available all day. Meal times are dangerous with so many carbs on offer.
2. Drinking calories: With wine and beer on tap, all inclusive holidays are notorious for being very unhealthy.
3. Too much sun. Staggering from the dinner table to the lounger feeling heavy. You start with sun tan cream then get lazy into the second week. Heat rash and burn can result. Hello Pharmacy!
4. Dehydration: Water drinking can take a back seat. There is water in lager, right!
5. Spending too much money on trips and excursions: 2 weeks staying in the hotel grounds can be claustrophobic.
6. Not enough movement: No motivation to exercise is common.
7 Stress of being with other people: yes you are on holiday and yes you are with people that you love but stress and friction can occur especially at decision time. What shall we do today! Arrrrrrgh.

There are plenty more pitfalls but I will leave these to your imagination.

This mini guide is a few suggestions on how to have a healthy all inclusive experience.

1. Plan your alcohol: decide in the morning when and how many beers etc you will have that day. Make a judgement how many is too many. One sounds too few? Five sounds too many?
2. Be sensible with your carbohydrates: spaghetti and meat sauce with chips on the side might not be the best plan. In my opinion the danger foods are bread, rice, potatoes and pasta. Fortunately in all inclusive buffets there is plenty of choice so as a general rule these can be avoided. I’m not saying don’t eat a single piece of bread or a pasta twirl, just not at every meal.
3. Tune into your body. Several key questions will help you do this. Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Do I feel dehydrated ( dry mouth, headache, unfocused, tired, demotivated to move). Do I feel stressed? Do I feel hot? Do I feel lazy? Most of these are easily answered and resolved. If you are not hungry then don’t eat! Simple!
4. Drink plenty of water. Make water your drink of choice at meal times. I find that a rule of no alcohol when eating is essential. Order a bottle of still mineral water as the first thing you do when the waiter comes around.
5. Give yourself space from who you are with. You don’t need to do everything together. Spend a couple of hours on your own. Fill this time with something healthy such as a mile run. You will have more to say to one another this way. Shared experience is valuable but limits freshness in conversation.
6. Take advantage of the hotel sports put on. There is usually plenty on offer from water aerobics to beach volleyball. In Cyprus at the moment I have done an organised Yoga class everyday. I had never done Yoga before – a great introduction to it. Outside and beautiful!
7. Plan your dedicated sun times. I comit myself to two fifteen minute sessions a day. One in the morning before it gets too hot and one in the afternoon for a final blast. To be mathematical and chef like I do 7.5 minutes each side. I use my phone timer to time myself.
8. Look around for trips and excursions. The holiday company you booked with will be all to keen to sell you ‘their’ trips. There will be entry of outside companies offering the same if not better just a short walk away. Have a look at tripadvisor (before or whilst you are there). You can search for attractions near you. Have a look at the highest rating first then move to the average ones and make a list of the pitfalls. A little bit of research goes a long way. Think carefully about hiring a car. Not always the best thing in my opinion. Yes you may be able to see more but can be the source of many an argument. Everyone gets a bit scared driving on a different side and into the unknown. Be a little considerate.
9. Be organised and sensible. . Use the hotel safe to keep your valuables in. Don’t leave stuff around the pool – don’t get paranoid though. People are generally trustworthy.
10. Try to exercise everyday and if you can help it avoid the gym. Get outside.

If you have a healthy lifestyle then 2 weeks of all inclusive can damage you and ruin all sorts of good habits.

These suggestions are mind and I am keen to hear yours. Please comment freely or email me at runamiletoday@gmail.com

Milerunner

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Would you like to be profiled on this site

In addition to my posts I would like to profile other running bloggers on http://www.milerunner.me. Each month I will be profiling two bloggers. If you would like to be profiled then please email me using the address runamiletoday@gmail.com with the answers to these questions.

1. Tell me a bit about yourself and a bit about your blog.

2. Why do you run?

3. How does running make you feel?

4. Where do you typically run?

5. What is your favourite place to run?

6. What distances do you cover when you go out. Does it vary or are you consistently the same?

7. What is your best achievement in running?

8. Have you any tips to avoid injury?

9. Are there any gadgets that you use on your runs? Any apps that you can recommend?

10. And finally………How do you keep yourself motivated?

Milerunner

Running a mile a day while on holiday

Tomorrow morning I am off to Cyprus for a bit of sun and relaxation. I have packed my trainers and other running gear and intend to get up early every morning to go for a mile run. I will blog during the week to let you all know how it goes.

Here are some reasons why I will be running whilst on holiday

  1. Running a mile a day is now so part of my routine that it will be hard for me not too.
  2. It will be a chance to see the resort quiet before the majority of people are up. Maybe there will be a few other runners out there too. I will be able to see the resort at its best.
  3. My metabolism will be kept high which will be important as I will presumably be eating more of the naughty carb laden stuff that I usually let myself.
  4. Once I return from my holiday I won’t feel guilty that I have not run and will be able to continue to easily without any adverse effects.
  5. It will be a definite start to my day and will feel good and not lazy when I am lying on a lounger.

Do you have any tips on how to run and exercise when on holiday?

running by the sea

The image in this post is from here.

 

How to have a Healthy day

Sometimes we can’t help but have a day of indulgence. This may involve a large breakfast that you don’t normally have, the piece of cake you shouldn’t have had but couldn’t resist because you we’re with friends.

After a day like this you can feel bloated and your body tries to cash it can’t honour. We often want a healthy day after a day like this but how can you achieve it.

Here is a checklist of things to do to have a good day. If you can manage 2 or more consecutive days like this even better. Let me know how you get on.

1. Skip breakfast and have a large glass of cold water instead.
2. Go for a mile run the first thing in the morning. Make sure it’s the first thing you do.
3. Limit yourself to an eating window. I find that if allowing myself to start eating at 1.00 in the afternoon and finishing eating at 9.00 in the evening is about right. This is an 8 hour eating window. This stops me snacking in the morning and prevents me from going to bed on a full and heavy stomach.
4. Make this day alcohol free.
5. Limit the amount for caffeine you have. Have a black coffee in the morning but then no more.
6. Don’t eat any bread, pasta or rice. Completely reduce the amount of carbohydrate that you have.
7. Carry a water bottle with you at all times and have regular sips.
8. If you want to snack then have nuts or berries such as raspberries or strawberries. I love to snack on cashew nuts.
9. If you must have something sweet then have a couple of squares of over 85 percent cocoa chocolate.
10. Don’t eat bread, rice and potatoes or if you must don’t eat as part of the last meal of your day.

If you have any more tips then please let me know.

Milerunner