10 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE STARTING MY FITNESS JOURNEY PART 2 - 6 THROUGH 10
6.) Different phases of life calls for different approaches
We all know there are four seasons throughout the year. Well your body will also experience something similar to this idea. During one period, your body may really respond to high intensity interval training and you might absolutely love those sessions. Then your body might require more controlled, dynamic, flexibility based training similar to Pilates. Then next thing you know, it feels best for you to perform traditional strength training styled exercises.
Your body will require different modalities of training at different times. In addition to this, your body might feel best doing a mixture of training styles throughout one week. For example, maybe you don’t want to strength train 6 days out of 7; but you want to get exercise in 6 days a week and make sure to move your body. You decide you are going to strength train 4 days out of the week, leaving one day for a restorative workout such as yoga, low intensity Pilates, or steady state cardio such as a walk, then one day for high intensity training where you really kick your butt and break a sweat.
What this will do is keep your workouts fresh and interesting; as well as keep your body in a state of continual change up with your exercises so it won’t adapt as quickly. This means you have a better chance of seeing the results you want quicker.
To add a final note. You will without a doubt experience ups and downs in your lifetime. This isn’t a bad thing, it is just a part of life and we have to adapt and grow with these fluctuations that may come. You may become pregnant, be diagnosed with an illness out of the blue, get sick, have an extra long work week, or become injured, etc. (To be clear pregnancy is not a setback, it is just to emphasize that this will create a need for change in your lifestyle). These factors will all play a part in your energy, drive, strength, endurance, etc. Be kind to your body, listen to what it is telling you, and give it what it needs to operate and feel it’s best. That way you can operate and feel your best.
7.) Listen to your body - It really is trying to tell you something
Too often we are told to push, push, push and go, go, go in our fast paced society. We aren’t told to listen to the signs that our body is giving us, let alone know what these signs are trying to tell us.
The unfortunate truth is that if you continue to ignore your body and what it is trying to communicate, your health will decline. To break it to you as simply as I can, when your health goes, you go. It’s the reality of the beast.
One day you may wake up feeling super lethargic, drained, low energy and simply just fatigued in general. Modern day society might tell you to “suck it up,” “push through,” or to just get some coffee or an energy drink and you’ll be fine. Sure some caffeine might help, but it ultimately will just mask what is going on below the surface. This is your body telling you it needs rest, it needs attention, and you are pushing yourself close to your limit without giving your body the proper recharge it needs.
If your body is dead tired one day, use that day as your designated rest day. Recharge. Drink lots of water, eat nutritious foods to help your body out, get in your vitamins and minerals, etc.
Now there is a fine line between being lazy and being tapped out. Do not miss your workout because you don’t feel like it or you’re sleepy. Use it as a rest day when you can barely function properly, are experiencing brain fog and in general you feel working out would be too much. Do some yoga or go for a walk that day instead or some light stretches or foam rolling. Your body will thank you.
On the flip side, sometimes you wake up and you are ready to go. You have all the energy in the world. Use it. Move, push harder than you ever have, your body is ready to be active. Don’t waste that energy and the message that your body is trying to tell you. It wants to exert more energy so don’t just sit on the couch all day watching movies or at the computer working and doing emails for 10 hours.
Your body is extremely, extremely smart. Listen to it because it is constantly trying to tell you something 24/7.
8.) All because you aren’t losing weight on the outside doesn’t mean positive changes aren’t occurring on the inside!
Just like you can’t becoming overweight by eating one bad meal. You can’t become in shape by eating one good meal. It takes time.
It would be wonderful if you starting working out on Monday and next thing you knew you looked like Thor or a fitness model or Olympic athlete by Sunday. Unfortunately it isn’t that easy.
All because the outside may not seem like it is changing, there are amazing, incredible changes that are occurring inside of the body before you ever begin to see any on the outside. When you begin to exercise consistently and adapt a healthier lifestyle/way of eating, your body begins to change at a cellular level first. Cellular level is very small, if you didn’t already get that. It starts small and works its way bigger. Positive changes will occur such as how your body operates before you even realize things are changing; so don’t give up! Give these change the opportunity to come into full bloom.
You will also start to experience a lot of wins outside of simply weight loss… Such as improved sleep, better circulation, better mood, more confidence, better energy, etc.
9.) Your fitness journey will become so much more than just losing weight
In the beginning, it is common to start your fitness journey with the goal to lose weight. It is normally the initial pull to get you to finally sign up for a gym membership, join group classes, or to get yourself a personal trainer. You decide enough is enough.
Then the journey transforms into something even more beautiful than an external achievement. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, it is an incredible goal to work towards, but it isn’t the only benefit that comes from adopting a healthier lifestyle.
In my personal experience, fitness started to equal health instead of outward appearance over time. It wasn’t just about how much I could lift in the gym or how high I could get my endurance up. It started to become about how much confidence I had gained, which helped me to show up in the world better. This improved my attitude and approach in my relationships, jobs and school. It allowed me to have more confidence in my abilities, what I had to offer, and who I was as a person. It also started to become about continuing how much energy my body could have, how good my sleep quality could get, how great I could feel in my body, in addition to how good I could get my body to look.
There is a caveat that I want to make clear here. Just like anything in life, this will continue to take a hilly path instead of a straight one. You may be in love with fitness and doing it for all of these amazing reasons, and then something in your life happens that will cause you to fall off track. It may even take you a hot second to get back on track again. That is okay, it is a part of the progress. It is common to fall into beating yourself up for not being 100% all of the time. The reality is that you are a human. Take it one day at a time and don’t give up. Watch this journey turn into one of the most rewarding decisions you ever decided to take on.
10.) Do not compare your journey to anybody else’s
Your journey will be unique. It will not look like anybody else’s. The biggest reason is because of the fact that your body isn’t like anybody else’s. The way your bone structure is built, your metabolism, your energy levels, your genes, all the way down to your cellular makeup is all unique to you.
We live in a social media age where it is easy to hop onto your phone and instantly see a fitness model, and think “why don’t I look like them?” What you don’t see is the long journey that they have gone through to get to that point. The time they have put in at the gym or the discipline they have endured to stay on track. The decisions to continually feed their body nourishing foods and not eat that office donut every day.
The best advice I could ever give someone is to stay inspired by other people, but never compare. You can use someone as motivation to get yourself to the gym or give you ideas for exercises, etc. That is a wonderful use of social media.
Once you start to think that you have to have what someone else does, look the way someone else does, live the way someone else does, I encourage you to be extremely mindful of what thoughts are running through your head. You don’t need to be anyone else. Beauty is also subjective. If you don’t have long dark extensions or massive biceps it doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy or less valuable. Use other people as inspiration but be careful and mindful of that fine line between comparison.