Health and Fitness Talk: A Guide to ‘Just Doing it’, and Making it Last

The same old title that you have read about 10 times right after you finish that yummy bar of chocolate? And potentially leaned over to grab some more?…

The same old title that you have read about 10 times right after you realize pushing yourself to your limit doesn’t seem to help what you see in the mirror anymore? Be it losing fat or seeing new curves… or simply growing the guns.

Or you are like me… Recovering from an injury, or just been too long into the “healthy living” trend that you couldn’t care less anymore… yet it’s a struggle to get up from the couch sometimes.

Well, whoever you are, I hope this article finds you well and gives you hope that you can just do it.

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Short bio: I grew up with ballet and horseback riding, later fell in love with running and fitness. I prepped for a bodybuilding show 3 years ago and was a member of UKBFF. I trained powerlifting style, and later, tried CrossFit for a short period of time (up until the famous injury). I aim to obtain my minor in Human Kinetics very soon. Although I do not have any certificates, I have a great interest in fitness and loving my body for all that it does. Please take the advice as you need it!

  • There is no finish line.

Whenever I go on a run using my Nike Running app, it says this: “Remember: There is no finish line, and you’ll just keep getting better”, I oddly find peace when I hear this.

One thing that I see a lot of people do when they first start working out, or the “cutting phase” is that they start FAST, and they finish FAST. It sounds like the right thing to do, right? Sadly, that’s a no.

If you have been sedentary all your life (or e.g. for the past 2-3 months), your body is not going to magically lose weight when you start running 5 times a week. It’s actually more likely that your body is going to be like “What the hell, dude?”. At that point, your body doesn’t know how to properly recover for your next activity because you are basically tiring your muscles, slowly damaging your metabolism and wearing yourself out. The “go all out” method might work for a few weeks or a month, but the second that you need to push yourself further, you will quickly realize that there’s no further left, and you have already used your body to its limits.

2015, with Ryan Terry.

What should you do? When you start working out or start a cut, start slowly and build up the momentum. Start two times a week, add a third workout next week. Cut your extra slice of bread from your breakfast and next week, switch up the pasta lunch with a tuna salad. Don’t do it all at the same time. Give your body some time to adjust the new activities and recover from them to positively affect your health.
One of the greatest advice that I was given: I and my body will be on a long journey together. Changes take time to adjust, and we have a lifetime to do it just right. Love your body, train because you love your body.

It’s a long run and you know that you don’t want to wear yourself out too quickly. Love what you do, more love will follow.

  • If you are a newbie, read this.

I could not tell you how important it is for you to read these words. I just started to a new gym full of buff dudes myself and it actually is intimidating to walk around them. It might seem like you have nothing in common with all the ‘fit’ people if you allegedly feel insecure about yourself. And, that’s okay!

In my opinion, training shouldn’t be about other people and how you should only train to show off at the gym. I had a similar conversation with a friend over the phone just an hour ago. I had sent him a video of myself practicing the snatch move (which was shot a few days before I got injured), I told him I missed training like that. He followed up with a question “You are not an athlete, I know that you don’t need to feed your ego… and you are not prepping for a competition. Why did you even bother doing those exercises? You did not need to”. My answer was simple, I usually get bored with endless hours of cardio and Pilates (seems like a lot of girls do enjoy it, and I respect that), and I love doing things that stop my mind from pacing around. I overthink too much, and when I train at a fast pace, it is my remedy.

I think I kind of like the brain fog (and the endorphins, ya know?).

  • EAT.

Abs are made in the kitchen, okay, okay. We get it, fine. Unless you are an obsessive freak (flashback to me 3 years ago), you will not be able to make the salad and 0 calorie water life for a long time. I absolutely respect you if you can, but I have seen and experienced first-hand that a lot of restrictive eating brings eating disorders with it. Let me tell you, disorders don’t go away as fast as you would want them to.

What should you do? So, please, have your cake, chocolate, hamburger or whatever your tummy desires BUT… have it in moderation. IIFYM method usually works well to estimate what your body needs and tailor your calories according to that. However, it might sometimes trigger restrictive eating, too. Experiment, and find your own balance. I personally like to eat healthy most of the time. I have a sweet tooth, so I’ll have a couple pieces of dark chocolate or a small piece of cake to fuel my training. Who needs coffee when you have sugar, right?

The take away: Do NOT eliminate any food. Food is your friend. Go out with your friends and have the occasional dessert. The important part? Do NOT beat yourself for it. Move on, keep living.

  • Find a partner.

Choosing a partner is an important, at times life-changing (hopefully in a good way), and a burdening decision. Many say best friends make great partners. I got to refute this one really quick: My best friend in middle school ruined every diet I have ever started. We would swallow bars of chocolate for every pound we lose for the week. Gain all of that back, feel miserable, eat to feel better, diet, repeat the cycle. One word: BRUTAL.

Body Power Expo, UK

Not all partners are like that though. Find partners who have similar goals as you. My boyfriend and I met at the gym because we were the only two crazy people who would wake up at 6 am to make it for training before anyone else. We became good friends, woke each other up when one would not, and he became a motivating factor for me to get out of bed and get working. Training partners will push you further, at times create friendly competitions and become your helpers.

  • Choose one wisely, and when it’s time to let go for your own personal bodily and mental growth, let go, like everything else.Slow down and remember; things change eventually.

Over the coming days, months, years… You will change, and your body will, too. Maybe you started your fitness journey hating running, and one day, all of a sudden, running isn’t so painful anymore. Because last year, all the negative thoughts that you hear in your head only worsened your struggle to put your feet forward. Today, you suddenly started feeling alive, and happy with the wind blowing through your hair.

Brae Island Trail, 2016. Outdoor Run.

Much likely, for some reason, you might not be able to do things that you used to do, and that’s okay. Putting your body through stress, overworking, injuries, and more happen. If you are slow and steady, you prohibit a chunk of it. But if life happens, and you need to slow down, find new ways to make old things happen. Take a walk, relax, love your body through all that it has been through.

Times that you feel there is no change? No forward progress? Ask for help, find ways to leave the mental stress (depression, insomnia, anxiety and more causes) behind, do it because you love it (I know I say this a lot), do not get your mind stuck on the scale or other measurements. DO: Measure the positive changes on how YOU feel, keep going.
Keep going.

Leave any questions you might have and let me know if you’d want to read a series of posts on health and fitness.

BONUS TAKE AWAY.
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