Monday, October 25, 2010

Couch to 5km program/my weight loss journey

I have recently completed the Couch to 5km program so I thought I would do a mini-review/opinion post on it as well as a brief overview of my weight loss journey this year.

To start from the beginning, I was always a bit of a tubby in primary/high school (not obese or anything, just not skinny and not really interested in sports).  I blame this partially on my primary school PE teacher who was not very nice haha!  Anyway, I was the type of person who would say they had their period for every swimming class, would always “feel sick” on every school athletics day or always offer to help out and be an “official” (recording times etc.) for school sports events to get out of actually participating.  In about Year 9 I lost quite a bit of weight by dieting and exercising (mostly walking, but I would go for like 1 -2 hour walks most days of the week), but I honestly can’t remember how long I kept it off (not very long).  Then between year 10 and 11 I went on exchange to Germany and I lost weight then as well (maybe 3-4 kgs, can’t remember exactly), probably just because it was cold all the time and I did a lot of walking as well.  Between year 11 and 12 I lost a bit of weight again because I went on a school hiking trip over the summer and for “training” for that I did a lot of swimming and walking with a heavy pack (15-20 kgs), and then there was the actual hike itself as well.  I was really proud of myself for doing this hike because I signed up for it to challenge myself and push myself out of my comfort zone which I think I did do.  Then at the end of year 12 I lost some more weight when we went to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia because I got sick (I think I had a really bad reaction to the anti-malaria prophylaxis medication I was taking).  This was pretty temporary though, once I stopped vomiting/having diarrhoea (TMI? Sorry!!) and was able to eat properly I probably put it all back on.

Once I got to uni, I kind of stopped exercising (I would occasionally feel like exercising and randomly go for a walk or bike ride or something, but didn’t do anything regularly) and I think my weight slowly crept up on me until about March this year probably (the start of my third year of uni).  I think I weighed around 63-64 kgs (I’m 163.5cm tall for reference) and I found that clothes were fitting a lot tighter and my mum remarked that I’d put on weight.  So I decided to try to do something about it.  Initially, I just tried to make an effort to eat healthier (i.e. avoid junk food etc.) and I think that helped me loose maybe 2-3 kgs over a few months.  I did try using some of those protein meal replacements but most of them tasted fairly average and I honestly didn’t find them to be all that filling either.  Plus I think a lot of them contain protein derived from animals blood products (gross).  So then I decided that I should probably do some form of exercise.  A few years ago I made an attempt at trying the Couch to 5km program.  I think I did one work out lol!  But this was before the age of iPods and I was just estimating distances which didn't really work very well.  I think I also wore Dunlop Volleys and had really sore feet afterwards - idiot!! Hahaha!

So this time I decided to wear proper shoes (haha!) and purchase the app for my iPod touch ($2.49 well spent!).  I really like the app as it gives cues when you need to run and walk.  Also, I found the countdown cues really helpful when you start doing the longer runs (e.g. the ones that say 10 minutes left, 5 minutes left etc.)  I ended up taking a LOT longer than the 9 weeks recommended.  I started at the end of May and finished in mid-October (so probably around 14-15 weeks in total) as I repeated a few weeks if I felt that I didn’t manage very well.  It would have been nice to finish in 9 weeks, but I’d rather take longer and actually finish than push myself too hard and fail and then just give up.  Also, I think the three workouts a week they recommend is not enough.  Most weeks I did at least four workouts, some weeks I even did 5 or 6 (I never tried to do two weeks worth of workouts in one week, I would just do an extra lot of the same week i.e. I would do 6x week 3 workouts, not do week 3 and week 4 of the program in one week).

So, what now?  Well, at the moment I’m jogging/running for 30 minutes at least 3 times per week.  I’m not running 5km yet in the 30 minutes yet (I only run about 4km), so I’m going to work on getting a little bit faster to get to 5km in the 30 minutes.  Also, my sister has expressed some interest in trying this program so I’ve done a few of the early weeks (since finishing) with her.  This has helped me notice the difference in my fitness – when I started out myself I was struggling even with week 1.  Now, I can do a week 1 workout and I’m barely even puffing at all!

So did I lose any weight?  Only around 2kgs, which seems disappointing, but I think what I have lost is inches.  I’ve dropped a pants size, can fit into things that I haven’t been able to for a while and people have commented to me that I look like I’ve lost weight.  I have Biggest Loser style before photos (in my underwear) and I’ll get around to taking some after ones soon.  I’m not sure if I’m game enough to put them on the internet though?  I’d still like to lose another 2.5-3 kgs and I’m thinking about doing something like swimming or cycling as well as jogging, during the holidays.

Hope this was of interest to some people.  Feel free to comment and tell me about your experience with C25K or any other similar jogging for beginners program.

NB. I am not claiming to be any kind of expert on any of the material contained in this post.  Please ensure that you seek proper advice from relevant professionals before undertaking any kind of diet/exercise regimen.


  1. Hey keep up the good work, I was a total lazy girl til last year now I try to run as much as I can :)

  2. Haha yeah, I think the hardest thing will be to keep running now that I've finished because I don't really have a specific goal.

  3. Wow what a good effort! I've been wanting to try the couch to 5km program but sadly I dont have an ipod touch or an iphone! my treadmill does have similar "personal trainer" programs on it though so i try and use them.
    My main thing is trying to lose inches as well - Im the same height as you but I weigh like 55kg and I just wanna be slimmer! lol..anyway, enough ranting from me. I enjoyed reading this post! :)

  4. 55kg is my current goal weight, but I seem to have plataeued out at the weight I am now. I know you can download podcasts for normal mp3 players but then I guess you can't choose what music you listen to.


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