Prior to writing this post, I brainstormed all of my "key moments" in my fitness journey to date and if I'm honest, this made me slightly nervous! It really dawned on me how much I have changed, physically and mentally I have come so far, which really ignited my passion to write this post. Even if only one of you finds this useful it will have been worth it! I am by no means qualified in this area, but I wanted to share with you some of my tips that have helped me get to where I am today. This ones a long one, so please, sit back, enjoy the read and Like and Subscribe for future post updates.
I guess we should start right from the beginning with my childhood years. My younger self had always had a massive appetite and I loved a sweet treat, always being the one to order dessert when everyone else was stuffed. If I had had my way, then I would've been eating sweets at every meal and in this case not much has changed! I would also say that I had never been naturally skinny and as a result of my eating habits I was probably carrying a little bit of extra weight. But, this didn't mean that I didn't enjoy exercise, I constantly had a hobby on the go, whether it was tennis, netball, horse riding. My parents were always a huge influence in ensuring that I was an active child. And even though, I was never the fittest or the fastest I enjoyed it. I was loving life as a chubby kid, without a care in the world.
This was me all the way up until I was about 15. By this point in my life, most of my hobbies had taken a back seat, I was focusing on school and quite happy just doing my own thing. As a result, I went through a period where the weight piled on. At the time, this didn't fuss me and to be honest it shouldn't fuss anyone, as long as you are healthy and happy within yourself. But that was the turning point, by 16 I was no longer happy. I remember my mum and I, had ventured out on our yearly summer shopping spree and how much of a disaster it was. Spending most of my time in the dressing rooms, getting changed in and out of outfits that I hated myself in, I came away with practically nothing. This made me realise, that I was no longer satisfied with my body or the way it looked or even how I felt. This is when I uncovered my love of the gym- or at this point you could call it an unhealthy obsession. Signing up with my mum, I was going 6-7 times a week. Training every single HIIT or cardio workout I could find on Instagram, whilst also experimenting with every diet under the sun. And the weight came off. I'm sure most of you will know, burn more than you eat and you'll loose weight and so I did. But, this also came with a lot of negative side effects, being tired all of the time, difficulty concentrating at school and I was moody, literally I was in a constant state of annoyance. Looking back, I was definitely naive to the amount of stress I was putting my body under. I was uneducated around how to fuel my body correctly and didn't know how to train to optimise progression. Yes, I lost weight and yes I could fit into the clothes I wanted to, but I hadn't found a healthy balance.
This continued for about 2 years- under eating and over training. In hindsight, I put this down to my fear of being back where I was at 15, I knew what had worked the past two years and I wasn't about to change that. Well, not until I met my boyfriend in 2018. Working in the industry, he managed to reconstruct my perception of 'fitness,' educating me about the importance of incorporating weightlifting into my training and eating the correct amount of calories and macros for my body. This is when I started to see the results I wanted. Aesthetically, I had amazing periods of being able to build muscle, as well as times where I was able to lean out. I was definitely stronger than I had ever been. This stage of my journey really highlighted to me how wrong I had been before. I had created this constant pressure to be smaller, or to be better or to loose more weight, in my eyes it was never good enough.
The next few bullet points changed my whole perception of "fitness," I was finally beginning to understand how to achieve results, whilst being healthy and happy.
Don't look for a quick fix for long term results
If I am being brutal, there is no quick fix. Don't get me wrong, you can restrict your calories to the lowest point and you can train all the cardio in the world, until you're sweating your ass off and loose weight. But this is not sustainable. Trust me, I've been there and still struggle to "cut" to this day. I end up pushing my body into a state, where I am so hungry that I fall into eating everything in sight and undoing all of my hard work. Finding a balance, will ensure that results are long term. Commit you're self to a plan, but a plan that is realistic and flexible because this is going to make your journey/progression so much more enjoyable.
Focus on performance goals as well as aesthetic goals
Now, there is nothing wrong about having an aesthetic goal and you now know that this is where I started. But, I do believe that having a performance goal is crucial for providing an alternative motivator. I cannot express the feeling that comes when walking into the gym and smashing out a PB, or mastering a skill that you have been working towards, such as a handstand. You'll be surprised how much this drives you to want to succeed, maybe even more than seeing the scale go up or down.
Know the science
You've probably heard a lot of 'fitness influencers' talk through the terms TDEE or calorie deficit. In short, every day you burn a total amount of calories, through eating, walking, working out, in order to loose weight you need to eat less than this amount (calorie deficit) and to be able to gain weight you need to eat more (calorie surplus). But bonus... before you even get out of bed you will have burnt a certain amount of calories already. I know, absolute winner! Everyone is different, but it was calculating my TDEE and tracking my calories accordingly, that worked as the best tool for getting me the results I wanted. There are a lot of calorie calculators out there to help you work through this, and if you put in the time and effort in to getting this information, life will be much simpler.
Enjoy the foods you love
Don't allow fitness to consume your life. Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine is a lot better than solely focusing on having x3 meals of chicken and rice each day. Food can be such a central element to a lot of social events and if you don't allow yourself to enjoy a variety of foods you will miss out on so many opportunities. Again, I've been there... not wanting to go out for a meal or not having a slice of cake at party. Well reality check, not one meal or slice of cake is going to ruin you progress. In fact, it often acts as a welcomed break for your body and mind!
Do it for you
You should only want to loose or gain weight for yourself, not anybody else. It is ok to want to change certain things about yourself, but it is not ok to put yourself down about it or do it because someone has told you to. I think in a world that is so social media dominant, it can be difficult for people to just be happy the way they are. If you want to start going to the gym to loose weight, then do. If you want to eat more wholesome foods to feel healthier, then do. But always do it for you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post,