Work out at your own pace

The human species has a peculiar relationship with fatness. One century voluptuous figures are all the rage and the next thinness is in vogue.

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) cashes in with his art of full-figured women. A whole term has even been coined for his art form – Rubenesque. defines Rubenesque as “applied to a woman who has similar proportions to those in paintings by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens; attractively plump; a woman who is alluring or pretty but without the waif-like body or athletic build presently common in the media”.

Fast-forward to the 19th century. Sabrina Strings, author of Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fatphobia, published this year, states that in her research she found that thinness has been a mainstream archetype in the US since at least the early 19th century. However, Strings’ book concentrates on the American slave trade and therefore its relationship with colour and fatness.

Many people who are afraid of being fat can and have resorted to unhealthy habits to maintain or acquire a slim waistline. Such thinking and behaviour are not fair on one’s body.

However, there is a flipside which can make weight issues heavier than they are. Society tends to cast a jaundiced eye at fuller figures. Researchers, RD Govender, S Al-Shamsi and Dybesh Regmi, in a study published this year, found that psychosocial factors such as weight bias affect the eating behaviour of overweight and obese people in South Africa. This research, which was conducted in Durban, also found that the 100 participants were not happy with their weight and 77% felt discriminated against.

Two people can start a fitness journey at the same time but their results will ultimately be different. This journey is truly personal. It’s not a competition.

These fitness instalments #Trending features aim to encourage readers to go at it at their own pace. This time we will have four workouts and the skipping rope exercise will be done after each workout.

  • Set your timer for 20-second interval training with eight rounds of three cycles and 10 seconds of rest. Add a 30-second break after each cycle


Put a chair in front of you and step on to it. When both feet are on the chair, step down. When both feet are on the floor, assume a narrow squat – where your feet and knees are closer compared to when performing a normal squat. Repeat until the end of your 20 seconds. The chair can be placed against a wall for stability PIcturess: Sthembiso Lebuso


Drop to a squat, take two steps to the right. With your legs slightly apart, raise your upper body and, as you swing your arms up, slightly twist your upper body to the right. Then bring both arms down to the opposite side as you squat. Repeat on the other side and alternate up to the end of your 20 seconds session


Get down on all fours. With one knee bent, lift one leg up and then bring it down. Quickly do the same on the other side and bring that knee down as well. From the assumed all-four pose, lift off the floor and get into the pike pose. In this position push against the floor with hands and feet. Repeat for 20 seconds


Take two hops forward on one foot then land in a squat. From here, slightly jump up to turn around and land in a squat. This time use the opposite leg to do the two hops. Repeat for 20 seconds


Well this is simple, right? Grab a skipping rope and Lou Lou, skip to my Lou my darling. If you don’t have a skipping rope, skip without one, it still counts. You can include the skipping after every workout for added cardio exercise. And take your time


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