Thrifty fitness

Running on the Vancouver seawall

Way back at school, my least favourite class was Phys Ed. I was pretty clumsy, and the only sports I was remotely good at were basketball, and long jump in track & field (one of the few advantages of being tall for my age).

I was utterly hopeless at softball… both hitting the ball with the bat and catching the ball with the glove remained out of the scope of my athletic abilities. Gymnastics was another class I loathed. I had no strength in my arms, no flexibility in the rest of my body, and my sense of balance sucked. Not the best combo for gymnastic-type activities.

After 10 long years of being forced to take Phys Ed, finally in grade 11 it became an optional, instead of a required, class. I dropped it faster than all the times I’d ever dropped a fly ball on the field.

I didn’t worry much about exercise or fitness for years.

Then as I got older, I made an effort on and off to implement a fitness programme in my life. Nothing would “stick” for more than a few months at a time. I didn’t like gyms with all their fancy equipment and lycra-clad bodies. Group sports didn’t interest me in the slightest. Nor did competitive sports like tennis or squash.

When I lived in Vancouver, I discovered running (jogging to be more accurate, though apparently it’s de rigueur these days to refer to it as running). Now here was a sport I could get into. Minimal outlay, no monthly fees, no competition, fresh air, etc etc.

The problem with running in Vancouver was that come autumn, the weather got not only cold but wet, and it’s not very pleasant running in cold, wet climes. So for a couple of years, I started up a running programme in the spring only to abandon it in the autumn.

After I moved to this side of the pond, I conveniently “forgot” about any kind of regular fitness programme. I wasn’t a total couch potato, walking a half mile to the shops in town a couple of times a week, working on the allotment in the summer, occasionally going for a bike ride or hike with Mr Thrifty at the weekends.

But nothing regular, and I knew my fitness level sucked.

Then one day my weight — never a problem before — started creeping up, and my waist started thickening. I could pinch more than an inch on some parts of my body, and I felt a like a podgy blob.

So a few weeks ago, at the end of October, I decided that it was finally time to start a lifetime fitness programme. (I like the word “fitness” so much better than the word “exercise”!)

I discovered my old friend, running. I still had a pair of decent running shoes from a couple of years ago, and a pair of old sweats. I found a Couch-to-5k running plan from Cool Running. I remembered that I feel most energised when I drink a protein shake during the day, so I added that to my daily menu. I started using this printable fitness calendar, as I find it motivating to fill in the squares.

I’ve been running for eight weeks now, though I’m only on “Week 4” of the Cool Running programme because I stretched it out a bit.

I’ve only dropped four pounds, but I’ve got my waist back and I feel less podgy.

Even though it’s pretty cold now (barely above freezing during the day), it’s dry most days and I’m sticking with it, four times a week.

It’s now about time to add a strength-training component to the mix, so I will be looking into that next.

How do all of you stay fit… and stay motivated to keep fit?


  1. well i weight train and I do some taebo dvds with great music. I look at myself naked with all the flaw and fat to keep me motivated. When I get to my goal weight I continue training. In terms of food I make desserts and freeze them and eat them on special occasions

  2. Weight train… that’s a really good idea, I really need to do some type of stuff like that. I don’t think I’m coordinated enough to do taebo! I like the idea of freezing desserts.

  3. Yay for you and running! I know what you mean–I struggle with staying on a fitness routine myself. I definitely have a ways to go and I tend to get more lax during the busy holiday season, but my absolute favorite thing is Zumba. I use the DVDs. I know you can take classes at most gyms these days, but I’d rather Zumba in the privacy of my own home where I don’t have to think about whether or not I look uncoordinated. It’s tons of fun.

  4. Zumba does look like a lot of fun… I’ll check it out! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *