It All Adds Up (Fitness Diary 34/52)

Coming back from my holiday in Australia (which I hope to turn into this week’s vlog offering), I didn’t return full-steam to exercising. I had to juggle babysitting and catching up on missed work while making sure that I eased back into physical activity slowly so I wouldn’t get sick again. I did this because even though I was already technically “better” (i.e. my cough and runny nose were gone), my resting heart rate had spiked to about eight beats higher than my average resting heart rate. I use resting heart rate as an indicator of whether I’m getting enough rest and recovery, so this told me I needed to take it easy.

Thankfully, the resting heart rate has since gone back to almost normal and I’ve started to do some easy running again. It’s astounding that despite the ease of my workouts for the past two months compared to a few years ago, I’ve lost a bunch of weight and am back to around the same weight I was before my first Ironman. (I also have the same “losing my thicc” problem as I did back then, with my pants going baggy around my booty. Huhu.)

However, friends and family tell me I don’t look as tired and haggard as I did back then. “Mukha kang hirap na hirap noon,” they say. It only goes to show that there are many ways to “skin a cat” so to speak, and the path to losing weight can be trodden not just through long hours of training, but also short everyday workouts and eating better. Now that I’ve checked certain things off my bucket list, my ultimate fitness goal these days is quality of life. I aim to be healthy and fit so I can be around for my family and friends, doing what I need to do to make the world a better place.

I used to have the classic crammer mentality where I try to do a lot in a short period of time, trying to catch up to a certain state. Putting in the long training, sometimes twice a day, definitely helped me to lose weight fast at the same time as it helped me get ready for the races I’d signed up for. (It also let me get away with eating junk because I burned so many calories.)

But now that my goals have changed and I’m no longer targeting half-ironmans and marathons because my body won’t let me, I find that for health and weight loss targets I’m still getting the same results with much shorter sessions and eating better.

The recommendation is a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate cardio activity daily to reduce the risk of chronic illness. If you still gain weight with 30 minutes’ daily exercise, bump it up to 60-90 minutes. The thing is, “exercise” and “cardio activity” don’t necessarily mean a sweaty run or gym session, and you don’t have to do it all in one go. Brisk walking, vigorously cleaning house, raking leaves, washing your car, and moving furniture is exercise. It all adds up.

At the same time, there’s no use trying to make up for missed workouts. A lot of people think as if they need to do more and end up feeling overwhelmed and demotivated. I’m telling you, just get back on it and try to find consistency. Even though progress feels a lot slower than “binge workouts” that burn a massive amount of calories, your body and you will feel better. It will still add up!

Your body doesn’t know what your goals are; it only responds to the kind of training stress you subject it to. Sure, you’ll lose weight and become healthier as you train towards getting a new PR, but you can also lose weight and get healthy just attending gym classes. Tailor the amount and kind of exercise you do to what your goals are and what you’re interested in. In the end, your mind and heart determine your goals and how satisfied you can be with the progress you make.

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