Last year when I lost my job*, I decided to make some changes in my life. One of which was to get into better health. For the past several years, my weight has increased while my energy and focus has decreased. I simply chalked up the latter two things to middle age and a general dissatisfaction with office life.
But it seemed clear that I could do with a change and, with my days suddenly free, I went back to my gym. My usual gym routine had been cardio-based but cardio isn’t really the best thing for burning fat. You need to lift weights for that.
I initially started some strength training programs based on some forums I found on the internet. The problem was a lot of it was unfocused, contradictory, and full of broscience and bizarre misogyny (“If you insist on using [weight-lifting gloves], make sure they match your purse.”). So I signed up with a personal trainer for weekly lifting sessions to get the basics right and start racking up big numbers. She co-runs a small gym in my neighbourhood and almost played in the CWHL so I figure she knows what she’s doing. And she’s been fantastic.
Since then, I’ve made some huge strides in my strength and I’m now switching from weekly to monthly sessions with her while going to the gym on my own for regular sessions. It’s made a difference. I do feel better and my shape is certainly changed, even if my weight hasn’t. I’ve since learned through my doctor that I’m a bit anemic as well as having low testosterone. That can be a vicious circle: belly fat can reduce your testosterone and having low testosterone can reduce your ability to lose belly fat.
But I’ve been at it a year now and it’s become My Thing. Normally, this stuff fizzles out on after a few months but it looks like I have a physical activity I don’t hate at last.
In the meantime, I’ve been following a few new fitness writers who, I think, offer good advice and get away from, let’s say, a lot of the aggressive posturing you see on a lot of weight-lifting blogs.
Stephanie Lee at Lifehacker. She travels the world and contributes to their health and fitness blog.
Ask a Swole Woman. The Hairpin’s fitness advice column. It’s aimed at women but I find a lot of it helpful.
Greatist.com. A new (to me) fitness blog that, again, offers fairly sensible advice if you can get past the pop up ads for luxury snack goods.
Triforce Montreal. My trainer’s gym.
*Still not working but I had a really good interview a week ago so …fingers crossed?