How I Made Fitness My Lifestyle
Okay, so this past year (2016) I made a lot of fitness improvements. It was probably the first year that I actually went to the gym 3-4 times a week, every week. I honestly can't think of a week that I missed workouts except for when I moved to Florida or when I got my wisdom teeth out. I was committed to beginning a healthy lifestyle. It's not like I was a binge dieter in the past (because I'm not really good at cutting out my favorite food groups). But my mentality about health had a few flaws in it. I did enjoy working out, but I never made it a priority. I would get on a work out kick, but I would easily get discouraged or stuck or even injured, so I would stop. Sound familiar?!
I was finally fed up and I wanted to start a lifestyle that I would be able to live for the rest of my life. I just started going to the gym consistently & being more mindful about what I ate. A lot of it had to do with the fact that I randomly started following fitness influencers on YouTube & Instagram (I'll talk about a few of my favorites later). I made my health a priority, & I was hard on myself a bit. I was lazy sometimes & I did not want to make healthy choices. But just like my dad always says, the more right decisions you make, the easier it is to make a right decision the next time. So I hit the gym, even if I was dreading it.
In the past, I have had issues with my right shoulder, my ankles, & my knees. So I know I needed to be careful. I would go on these gym kicks & I would end up with a sore knee for weeks, or a shoulder I couldn't lift anything with because I was overworking them. I knew I needed to strengthen these and create a variety in my schedule to make sure I'm building healthy strength.
I want to note that I have not weighed myself at all during this journey. For me, its not about losing weight. Yes, I want to lose fat, but I also want to gain muscle. The muscle was my main focus. Every time when I drive home from the gym, I think, "Wow, I'm stronger". Because regardless of if I ran, lifted, or just did yoga, I am getting mentally & physically stronger than I was the day before. Focus on that, then your mind & body will transform.
I have a few tips to leave you with of things that have helped me this past year, although a bit random, this is my formula for my success:
- GET A BUDDY. I know this has been so cliche, but its true. This summer, I had girlfriends from my internship that were motivated to join a gym & get a good pump! We each had our strengths that made each other motivated to work harder. Shale was a running machine, she inspired Abby & I to consistently get a great cardio session in after a long day in the office. Abby had legs of steel, she could raise the resistance on any cardio machine & pump it out for a solid hour! I taught the girls some great strength building activities, so we made for a well rounded group! Caro is my teammate at school, & we have made some serious #gains this year (okay I kinda hate myself for saying that, but whatever). She has some quads of steel & is willing to try anything. Buddies allow you to be conscious of when you will workout. Planning a workout makes you not forget what you are prioritizing.
- GET SOME GEAR. Obviously, belonging to a gym is an extra cost for most people, but it will motivated you to be around people that are also chasing fitness goals. But on top of that, I would recommend getting some resistance bands. Some are super cheap, and these are great for the days you just can't make the gym. These a little much for just a beginner & you don't need many attachments. But it is key to get ones that have hand & leg exercise abilities. I got mine from TJ Maxx & I love them. You can always search some good circuit exercises on Pinterest (I like this one). Secondly, I love having bluetooth headphones. Especially if you are transitioning from doing only cardio to HIIT or lifting workouts, these will change your life. I never have pockets at the gym. So putting my phone in my sweaty sports bra or pants is gross, just get bluetooth headphones (& maybe an armband, too) then you will always have the jams to power you through.
- GET SOME KNOWLEDGE. Like I mentioned earlier, some fitness influencers have changed the way I look at health. Some of my favorites are Emily Hayden, Christian Guzman, & Amanda Bucci. These are people who have influenced me so much. I know that may sounds dumb, but I love vloggers and these people are very knowledgable. If you read some of their bios, you will see that a lot of them are bikini or physique competitors. I did not know much about this industry before hand, but it has been really interesting to watch their journeys.
- GET YOUR FRUITS & VEGGIES + PROTEIN. Carbs are my life. But I was quickly recognizing that I am not fueling my body with nearly enough protein or fruits & veggies. Consciously deciding to eat healthier at snack times or late at night is the key time to change your diet. If you like ice cream every night, make a peanut butter banana protein shake that tastes just as good. Make a bomb fruit salad that tastes as good as a dessert. Make little changes and eliminate junk.
- GET VARIETY. As much as its nice to go to the gym & stick to your normal routine, its good to change it up. Look at what classes are offered at your gym, they help you push yourself farther than you would by yourself. We recently found that we love kickboxing, BodyPump, & some HIIT workout integrations we've found on Pinterest. (Try THIS or THIS)
- GET INSPIRED. Transforming your lifestyle does not happen in one day, its a group of positive decisions that makes you stronger every single day. If that means to surround your living space with inspirational quotes, do it. If that means to watch YouTube videos, do it. Whatever gets you to feel confident about who you are & where you are going.
Now that this blog post is very (very) long, I hope that some of it clicked because these are the type of things I love to read. My friends know I can go on & on about this topic, so if you want more, let me know! Please please please tell me what keeps you going & tell me what your healthy tip is in the comments!