When I decided to start working out and eating healthier I kinda wish I knew a lot more. I admit, I went into the game a bit blind and only with the intention of ‘looking better’ and ‘eating better’. I had no idea that this whole world would become my lifestyle and that there was sooooo much more to it.
Thinking back on it now, I wish I had my future self to tell me all these things that I would need to consider when starting a healthier lifestyle. So, i’m gonna help you guys out a little and point those things out that I think are important to consider when starting out.
You need to do your research
In my opinion the fitness community can have at times, a current fitness trend (a post i’ll write about very soon). At the moment were surrounded by the image of a ‘big booty’ however, when I joined the fitness community and began working out it was all about those abs and having a defined stomach. And yes, you guessed it… I went straight after the dream of having a defined core and abs. But with that came low carb diets, excess cardio, a fear of certain foods and me having no idea what I was doing. Why did I think low carb diets and tons of cardio would get me what I wanted? Because I believed everything I saw on social media.
However, it wasn’t until I started doing my research that I realised low carb diets, excess cardio and a restricted diet wasn’t the answer and in fact I was damaging my metabolism and my mental health. So, just because you’ve seen something on social media it does not mean it’s true. Do your research, make sure the information is legit and more importantly… don’t follow the ‘trend’!
Cardio isn’t everything
Like I said above, I dived deep into a pool of cardio because I instantly believed that cardio was the main answer to fat loss. I was probably doing 3/4 HIIT sessions and 2/3 LISS sessions a week (I had a lot of time on my hands, ok?). I was totally overdoing cardio when I didn’t need to. Then (thank the heavens) I found out about weight lifting and how in fact, it’s probably one of the best methods to help lose body fat and also tone up your body. And no ladies, it won’t make you bulky! Which brings me onto my next point…
Weights won’t make you manly
I’ll be the first to admit, I totally believed that weights would make me manly. In fact, I don’t even think I considered lifting weights at the beginning of my fitness journey. I was all about the cardio and sweat. Ugh. However, when I saw fellow Instagrammers trying out weight lifting and posting it to their accounts I decided to look more into it. And guys, it’s the best damn decision i’ve made.
I really hate the assumption that weights will make you manly – they won’t. It takes a lot of weight, a lot of time and a lot of effort to pack on muscle and in fact, it take’s women a lot more effort to grow muscle then it does men. Simply because we have less testosterone. Men have 20x more testosterone than women on average making it 20x less easier to grow muscle.
I’ve been lifting weights for almost two years now and I don’t look bulky in the slightest. Perhaps only when I flex – but guys, I don’t walk around flexing 24/7, do I? So, quit with the excuse that weights make you bulky and pick up a dumbbell if you’re really looking for a toned body.
Fitness has it’s ‘trends’, so do what YOU want to do
I picked upon this a little earlier and I would love to do a whole post on it. But for now i’ll keep it short.
I think to some degree the fitness community is focusing on a little too much of what you ‘want’ rather than what you have and i’ve definitely been a culprit of this. At the beginning of the year I went for the trend of having abs and a defined core until later last year I decided to follow the trend again and grow muscle for a bigger butt.
Now, when I think about it, it really was what I wanted (which is good). However, I think a lot of people go after what everybody else is doing. At times, cardio has been shunned because ‘weight training’ has taken over and i’ve even been involved in conversations about this and how it’s affected people who genuinely love cardio and feel like they shouldn’t because it’s not the current ‘trend’. Anyway, what I’m trying to say (keep it short, Hannah) is do what you love. Whether that be swimming, running, boxing, weight training, spinning… Whatever it is, just make sure you do it and don’t end up doing something that’s the trend and find yourself no longer enjoying this lifestyle.
People will judge you
Now, this is probably the hardest aspect of the journey that i’ve had to deal with. I really didn’t realise how many people judged you for eating a salad in the office or saying no to a slice of cake. It still amazes me (actually) how it can offend people when you don’t eat unhealthy – as if eating healthy should be sinned at times?
I’ve found that eating a McDonald’s is more acceptable than it is eating a healthy meal. Although, I really do think this depends on who you are friends with and who you spend your time with – i’m not saying this will happen to everybody!
My advice to dealing with the judgment: Explain why you’re eating healthier. Explain that you love it, you’re looking to lose some weight or whatever. If they still don’t accept that then perhaps it’s time to question who you really want to spend your time with. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel any less than you are.
So there we have it. If I could have told myself this 3 years ago then that would have been fab. But hey ho, you live and you learn, ay?