Some time ago I picked up Betty Rocker’s Make Fat Cry Challenge and did manage to go through with it. I am not going to talk about the results as it was a little disappointing for me. It is not because that program is bad. By no means. It is really good and I highly recommend it but the truth is that it did not resonate well with me, my schedule and my workout desires. I do not really need to lose fat. I just want to keep in shape. I am 5 feet 8 inches (1m78cm) and 205 pounds (94kg) and before you go all crazy on me saying that I am too heavy, my bone and muscle densities are high while I do have enough muscle on my body. Sure I can lose some extra 10kg to get more toned/ripped but that is not necessary at the moment.
A Bit Of Personal History
Now, getting back to the main topic at hand, let me give you a little background into my personal fitness story.
When I was young my parents decided to send me to do some martial arts since I was a little fat (I think). I did some Qwan Ki Do and stopped because I did not want to anymore. Power Rangers was moved on TV and that was more important for me. I did not lose much since that style is kind of useless in a real life setting anyway. As time passed I picked up different sports and martial arts. I did some bodybuilding, Shotokan, Ashihara, boxing and kick boxing. I can say that I basically did a little bit of everything but without sticking to anything for too long.
Eventually I started doing a lot of work at home, online, as a freelancer. This shifted everything. I eventually got to 120 kg (265 lbs) and one day the elevator broke. I lived at the eighth floor. By the time I reached the second floor I was all out of breath. This is when I realized that I had to get back to training.
I got to the point I am at now mainly with nutrition and living a more active lifestyle. Did that challenge, went to the gym from time to time, started to take the stairs more often, got 2 dogs so I walked much more and so on.
Then, I realized that I was missing something. I did not take good care of my body and I eventually started to put on weight again. I got caught up in work and realized a very important thing:
“You cannot have a healthy mind if you do not have a healthy body.”
This applies in basically everything. You are basically limited by your body even if you do not think that this is the case.
Working at home as a freelancer is tough for your body. You do get caught up in work. There is always something that you have to do. It is important to balance everything. You want to balance everything. That was what I lacked. It was quite obvious I needed to do something to get back in shape but the time needed to go to the gym was simply a luxury I did not have. I had to do something at home.
I started lifting weights at home. However, this created more problems. Sitting for 8 to 10 hours at a desk or on the couch with a laptop in hand simply destroyed my posture. One day I was looking in the mirror and figured out that my hip was basically displaced. My back was no longer straight. An old shoulder injury got worse and one of my shoulders was higher than the other one. Lifting weights only made these worse.
My problem and the problem of most people sitting at desks for a long time is posture. When your posture is bad you cannot breathe right. You cannot move right and all this has a snowball effect. You do not even realize it but everything becomes messed up. You cannot work for as long as you used to because your back starts to ache. So many things basically go wrong.
So, my problem was that my body balance was all messed up. I had to do something and a friend recommended Yoga. Obviously, I had huge misconceptions about Yoga since I was always taught differently. But then, I started to do some research and decided to give it a try.
Why Yoga As A Work At Home Freelancer?
I can say so much about the benefits of practicing yoga. Just take a look at this article for the main benefits if you are not aware of them. Going a bit deeper, the main reasons why this is really good for you if you work at home a lot on your desk, from my point of view, are the following:
- Improved Posture
Yoga counteracts long sitting hours in front of your desk. Your posture is improved. This affects much more than what many believe. You get to sit better at your desk, you have a more open chest, you walk better, you move better.
- Quick Routines
You do not need to go through really long workout routines. In fact, I take a really simple approach to this. I have a morning Yoga routine that is the first thing I do when I wake up. This is usually 20 to 40 minutes long. I do not have to travel to the gym or lose time on workout related things. Then, all throughout the day, from time to time I take a small break and do some quick yoga moves. Just 5 minutes tops is enough to stretch and get rid of all the body stress associated with work.
- Clear Mind
The joke is that yoga is all about stupid mind related things. That is completely incorrect. Yoga is not just about meditation. In fact, the clear mind aspect appears without you even realizing that it does. After doing routines for some time I realized I was much calmer. Many bad things happened in my life in the past month or so and nothing really affected me. I just kept going and going. All is because my mind is clear. It is a lot harder for me to get distracted. Yoga helped me to focus, think clearly and be more dedicated.
- Getting In Shape
Yoga is much more physically intensive than what you initially think. The great thing about it is that you do not even realize that this is the case. Once again, my elevator broke one day. I still live at the eight floor. Normally I would not go up more than 4-5 floors without getting tired. After yoga I realized I was in front of my door and had no breathing problems. I also had 2 heavy grocery bags with me and went up the stairs much faster than usual since I was in a hurry. All this literally with just half an hour per day.
- No Equipment Needed
All you really need is a Yoga Mat. On Amazon a good one is under $13. If you do not have a yoga mat, you can still start doing yoga as for the really simple beginner routines a towel is more than you need. You do not have to buy expensive workout gear. Comfortable clothes and the optional yoga mat is all that you really need.
Need even more reasons? Check out this great article from Balance Me Beautiful: This Is What 30 Minutes Of Yoga Can Do For You
If You Want To Do Yoga
The big problem with yoga is that posture is vital. You need to be sure that you learn postures and you want to get some help when you start out. I started with a friend that watched me and told me what I was doing wrong. Also, yoga breathing patterns are important and they are a little weird if you did some other sports in the past, mainly those that rely on weight lifting exercises.
If you do not have someone to guide you, obviously you will want to go to YouTube. There are many wonderful routines out there that are perfect for us desk sitters. You want to start with those that are 100% beginner focused and that tell you as much as possible about how to do the postures right. The one YouTube channel that I highly recommend is PsycheTruth. Look for clips that are good for the level you are at and the goals that you have (like weight loss, increased flexibility and so on). Stick to the instructors that make you feel comfortable and that explain everything as much as possible. The first routine I did was with Erica Vetra.
If you were injured and you have difficulties moving because you are overweight, having supervision is important. However, this is usually a luxury for many. A good option that can be considered is DDP Yoga. It will cost some money but there are also free clips online. DDP Yoga was developed for injured athletes or for older people, those that are not really in shape. If you are in a particularly bad physical condition, this is what I recommend. If you are more of a book worm, the basics are available for under $2.
Just Do It
Yoga is definitely something that grows on you. I do not know a single person that started doing yoga right and that does not praise it now. Professional athletes are incorporating yoga and other body weight routines in their workouts. Work at home freelancers with not much time available will simply love yoga. Just give it a good try. Do the workouts daily for a couple of weeks minimum. I am sure you will love it! If you do, let me know how it went. If you did start yoga, share your story with me. I would love to hear about it.