It’s hard to believe that only four years ago the thought of joining a gym would bring me out in a cold sweat. Even though I wanted nothing more than to get fit and love myself, I hated my body so much that the thought of me actually exercising would make me want to be a bit sick.
Fast forward a few years and I can’t imagine a life without my workout routine.
I want to talk about my experience with Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide at some point in the near future, but right now I want to talk about a few things I’ve come to learn since I start working out regularly.
Don’t get me wrong, having a solid workout routine hasn’t been the end to all my problems. I’m far from perfect, and I although I strongly believe in taking breaks when you’re not feeling 100%, I’m still prone to beating myself up when I miss a workout. Sometimes getting up at 5:30am for a pre-commute HIIT session just isn’t going to happen, and I need to allow myself to be okay with that.
Anyway here you go – Ten lessons my workout routine has taught me so far:
There’s so much false advertising out there encouraging people to ‘loose weight quickly’, and ‘get fit fast’, and it makes me so angry. Making changes to your lifestyle and body isn’t something that happens overnight, and although our impatient ‘want it now, buy it now’ attitude works pretty well for the fashion industry, it doesn’t here. Improving physically and mentally is a long process.
It takes time and dedication yes, but it’s really not as difficult as everyone makes out.
Moving my body is the best way I’ve found to improve my mental health. You can take all the prescription drugs in the world, but nothing beats that amazing feeling after a quick jog or mastering a pirouette en dedans.
Although I’m a firm believer in sweating your worries away, the same can be said for a gentle workout. At this time of the year all I want to do is bin off the HIIT sessions and embrace a bit of slow exercise. Plus there’s little better than 20 minutes of yoga before bed to help you nod off.
Having a gym buddy is a life saver.
I honestly don’t know what I’d do if my boyfriend wasn’t here to kick me out of bed at 5:30 and drag me to the gym. Wait, actually I do know what I’d do. I’d stay under the duvet for another hour and hope the smell of bacon would wake me up.
This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve come to learn since I started exercising. We’re flooded with images of beautifully toned people almost 24/7, and as much as I find it motivating to know that Sarah with the amazing abs is currently working out, it’s hard not to start comparing myself to her.
I’ve had to force myself to accept that everyone’s different, and everyone’s body changes at different speeds, so what works for Sarah and her killer stomach, won’t necessarily work for me.
I say this after almost three weeks away from the gym. Although I’ve carried on with my ballet classes during the week, I couldn’t muster up the energy or determination to go to the gym for pretty much the whole of February. Gone are the days where I’d beat myself up for missing a work out. Sometimes you just need to give your mind and body a rest.
Seriously, what is this sorcery?
Another fact I’ve taken years to accept is that no matter how much I work out, or how much my body changes, I’ll never like my thighs and I’ll never feel as though I’ve achieved what I set out to.
Sometimes the only thing you can do is keep reminding yourself to love your body as it is as this moment. I can guarantee no one else is noticing those love handles you hate so much.
I’m so sick of this idea that to loose weight you have to deprive your body of the things you love. It’s such a load of shit. Getting fit isn’t about deprivation, it’s about being clued up on nutrition and what your body needs.
Everything in moderation y’all.
I started out by setting myself reachable goals – i.e working out a certain amount of times a week, but making sure I wasn’t too hard on myself. As soon as your workout feels like a chore, you’re going to make excuses not to do it.
Also prepare your meals in advance. I usually work out what to eat every evening the weekend before, then make extra portions to take to work. There’ve been so many times when I’ve forgotten to plan ahead and been stuck with only a black coffee and peanut butter from the jar for breakfast. Ugh.
Even when I’ve pretty much cried crawling out of bed in the morning, or thought I was going to pass out during a set of burpees. There has never been a time when I’ve regretted working out, and even when my thighs have been burning for four days afterwards, I’ll always feel 100 x better than I would sat at home watching another episode of Suits.
And there you have it!
Before I started this journey I always assumed I’d only ever use exercise as a quick fix, something I’d never be bothered to follow through properly. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m actively choosing to get up at 5:30am and head to the gym, or wipe my social calendar clean just so I can fit in an arm workout. I’m also surprised that I really don’t miss the evenings spent gorging on Doritos.
The fitness community is one like no other. Exciting, challenging but above all, supportive and full of the most amazing babes you’ll ever meet. If that doesn’t make me want to work out, I don’t know what will.