Imagine you’ve been having a rough day. Nothing’s gone quite right and you’re left feeling that a personalised, small grey cloud is hovering over you. Exercise is the answer for a great many of us. A run outside in the fresh air can really lift your spirits. A long walk along the paseo, or a trip to the gym. That indescribably wonderful and uplifting feeling your body gets during, and especially afterwards, is one of the many great ways to feel alive!
I’ve considered myself a fitness babe since I was about 20. It all started off with trying to build some muscle on a very skinny, curve-less body. Back then I had the misconception most women have – that lifting heavy weights automatically made you look like one of those big bodybuilding women on steroids. This is not true. Never have I even come close to looking like a female version of Kai Green or Arnold Schwarzenegger. A natural, healthy, toned body takes countless hours of hard work, sweat and most importantly, a good diet.
With time I began to lift heavier and heavier, addicted to that wonderful burning sensation it gave my muscles and how it boosted my confidence. I wasn’t competing or comparing myself to anyone else, only competing with myself and aiming to be better than the person I was the day before. It was nice to physically see how hard work could reap good results.
After over half a year of ignoring the searing pain in my left hip, I finally went to a chiropractor hoping he could fix me, with a quick crack here and there. Mogens, who is very experienced and perhaps a wee bit too wise, gently pointed out that a woman of my size is simply not built for such heavy lifting. I left annoyed, not at him but at myself. Deep down, I had known this truth for some time but it was not a truth I welcomed.
Long story short – I had to reassess my workouts. I now lift much lighter, but with much more intensity and more reps. I keep it to 4-5 times a week. Long, brisk walks with the dogs are great too. “For balance to be restored, lessons must be learned.” – Sameh Elsayed
Working out creates an acidic environment in the body so it is important to eat alkaline foods in order to restore a healthy balance. An acidic environment can end with inflammation which leads to injury. Cutting out most meat has made my body less acidic. I’ve learned to eat protein from different sources, such as chickpeas, chia and quinoa, etc. I also ate a lot of fruit, previously thinking that fruit and veg had the same effect on the body. I know it seems like an obvious thing, but most vegetables are alkaline, especially the green ones. Most fruit is acidic, plus they’ve got a much higher sugar content.
A lot of athletes don’t know how important supplements can be when pushing your body to the limits. Omega 3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect and oil the joints. Magnesium helps the muscles to relax, prevents muscle cramps and has an alkalising effect the body. Vitamin C is a building stone for creating new cells and tissue in the body, and also fights inflammation.
Healthy fats in your diet such as coconut oil, avocados, etc. can help prevent that dried out look your skin can get if you have been working out intensely. Watch out for white sugar and energy drinks. Personally i felt that the pain in my hip intensified after a weekend with bad cheat meal candy. Opting for healthier, better quality foods such as coconut nectar sugar, dark or raw chocolate, healthy homemade treats and matcha tea instead of energy drinks has helped a lot.
A good night’s sleep is crucial too! Sleep increases metabolism, balances your hormone production as well as strengthening your immune system.
Yoga is another good way to practice balance, both physically and mentally. Finding a balance in every day life is key.
This experience has also helped me rethink my lifestyle in general. I’m naturally a very competitive person with a full power attitude. This isn’t always good, as my batteries end up running low.
Setting limits is actually a good thing, sometimes, and on the contrary to my earlier beliefs, it can be a strength.
Remember to tell yourself that you are good enough, even if you don’t manage everything on your list today. Tomorrow is a new day, and it will be filled with many more wonderful opportunities.
Hannah – Anni’s Vital Shop, Carrefour