10 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE STARTING MY FITNESS JOURNEY PART 1 - 1 THROUGH 5
1.) THE JOURNEY WILL BE ANYTHING BUT LINEAR
A common misconception when it comes to fitness / health is that the journey is a straight line. You start, and then “boom” your life is instantly sunshine and rainbows with a sprinkle of abs. As nice as that would be, it is not the reality of the beast.
Your life ebs and flows, and your fitness journey will imitate that. You may make tremendous strides in the right direction - starting to workout consistently 4-5 days a week, drinking close to a gallon of water every single day, eat nutritiously to nourish your body with loads of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and protein sources, creating more positive self-talk - then life throws a curve ball and sets you back a little bit. That’s okay. When this happens, it doesn’t have to derail all of your hard work. You will still be strides ahead of where you started.
You ultimately determine what this “set back” means. You control how to approach it. So here is my advice - Look at “set backs” with an open mind. To explain a little further, use these events, incidences, etc. as a message, a way to come back better, stronger, and more educated in areas that had it not occurred you wouldn’t have been able to grow from.
Your weight will fluctuate over your lifetime, you are human. You have different seasons of life, which calls for different approaches and different changes to occur in your body; just like how your health needs will fluctuate, so will your fitness journey.
Approach fitness from where you are and always stay focused on where you want to go. Never let a “set back” throw you off course. Always stay focused on what you want to achieve and who you want to become. If you never give up and don’t stop even when it gets hard, you will inevitably make it through any challenge that presents itself and learn from it.
2.) SOME OF YOUR HABITS MAY ACTUALLY BE YOUR ENEMY
Humans naturally fall into a pattern of habits and routines. It gives us structure, stability, security and a feeling of safety, and for most of us, we love it! This great trait that we carry so well can actually get in our way sometimes.
Do you have a habit of getting home after work and then not making it back out to go to the gym? Do you have a habit of indulging in foods that you know will make you feel lethargic and run down after you consume them? Do you have a habit of eating to punish your body or to nurture it? Do you have a habit of telling yourself you will start on Monday… every Monday? Do you have a habit of really harsh negative self-talk?
Our habits sometimes hold us into patterns that aren’t beneficial for us. At one point, they may have served a purpose in our lives, but now they are no longer useful to us.
Your brain can send you a “no go” response when you think about starting your new gym regimen for the first time, changing up your diet, or changing up your lifestyle all together. This is because it is unfamiliar to your habitual routine and as your brain would consider them “out of the norm.” Don’t let this stop you.
The worst thing you can do is nothing. The best thing you can do is something, anything. Starting with just one new habit can yield tremendous benefits for your life. For example, deciding to start the habit of drinking a gallon of water a day can improve your skin complexion, energy levels, digestion function, and so much more. Now think about if you combined that with the benefits of working out regularly. The benefits would be two fold in addition to weight loss, metabolic boost due to increased muscle mass, etc. Again… regularly. Creating a habit out of these things.
Instead of thinking you need to - get rid of - your old habits. Think about - adding in - these new habits. Eventually they will replace the old and you will look back at your life and be amazed at how far you’ve come. In addition to that, how natural these habits now are to your life. Then you’ll start to add on more and more until you can’t believe you’re at where you are in your journey; and you will thank yourself for starting.
3.) BE KIND TO YOURSELF
When you start this journey, it is easy to beat yourself up for not achieving your goals as fast as you would like too; in addition to that it is also easy to fall into the trap of beating yourself up for where you are currently at.
Be kind to yourself. Your subconscious is listening and it will have an impact on your energy and self-esteem, as well as how you present yourself and show up in this world. You’re listening, so be kind.
When you think empowering thoughts it actually helps to give your body energy and you will have a drive to push yourself in your workouts. Speak empowering thoughts and remember that change takes time but you are putting in the work and effort to achieve your lofty goals. This piece of advice will also help you in all areas of yourself, not just fitness.
4.) CONSISTENTLY REALLY IS KEY, THEY AREN’T LYING
As sad as I am to share this news with you… You can’t get into shape from one workout a month. If you want to lose weight, build muscle mass and endurance, that one workout (while it is better than nothing) won’t cut it. Same goes for how you approach your eating habits. I emphasize that word habits here like we just discussed in point #2.
The more consistent you are, the better the results; plus, the faster the results. The reality of it is that 10 minutes 7 days a week creates a bigger change than 60 minutes one time a week.
The best piece of advice I have for creating more consistency with your fitness routine, especially in the beginning is that… the best workout you can do is the one you will actually do. When you’re starting out and it’s hard to find your groove, start small and build from there. Just commit to - moving your body - every single day in one way or another. Maybe it is a long walk, yoga or stretching, bodyweight exercises for 10 minutes in your living room, or a killer gym workout. Create your workouts into something that you enjoy doing so you will stick with it. Which leads me to my next point…
5.) DON’T GET DISCOURAGED OR GIVE UP
The reality is that if you give up and stop pushing forward, you aren’t going to go anywhere. Sure you might be in a lull and you may feel like you haven’t made any changes, but if you give up, you definitely won’t.
Plateaus are also natural and they do happen throughout your fitness journey. Our bodies are incredible and designed to adapt over time to what we put it through. This includes working out. Think of how you start doing squats with just the barbell, then you start to add on 10 lbs, then 20 lbs, and so on. This is your body adapting to the exercise and the stress that working out places on the body/muscles.
Don’t let yourself get discouraged; whether it be because the scale isn’t changing fast enough or you are getting tired of your workouts. Change it up, try new exercises, new ways to construct your workout, or focus on all the small wins you achieve along the way.