(the title of this post is a little dramatic, but so am I, so there ya go. haha)
Hi friends! How’s the day going so far? Hope you’re having a lovely day. I’m here at home with lovebug, taking it easy. She’s a little bit under the weather, so we’re just going to chill at home, drink tea, eat soup and watch Enchanted. Not a bad way to spend the morning. 😉
Today, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the things that stood in my way when I was first getting started on a healthy lifestyle. There was a lot of information out there, and I was intimated, confused, and at first, enlisted the wrong type of help to assist me with my goals. I always love reading about others’ stories and how they got to their current spot, so I thought I’d share some of my mistakes I made in the early days. (I also talk a lot about my fitness history and backstory in the intro of “HIIT It!”)
1) Not strength training. I totally let myself believe that strength training makes you bulky, and as someone who was trying to get to a healthy weight, I did NOT want to become bulky. At first, I avoided strength training like the plague. Now I’m pretty sure whenever Tracy Anderson someone says that weights make you bulky, a fairy falls down dead. It is NOT TRUE. I didn’t lean out until I started strength training on a regular basis. Not only does it help to build lean, strong muscles, but it also increases your calorie-burning potential and protects your bones over time. There are so many reasons to add strength training to your routine, and it’s one of the few things everyone should do.
2) Having an uneducated “personal trainer.” After I started off on my fitness goals, and was consistently walking each day, I let myself become prey to the gym sharks at the personal training desk. (Please keep in mind that this was a big box gym, where any high school kid could be a “personal trainer.”) I was intrigued by the promise of increasing my metabolism, so I signed up, along with a friend, right on the spot. It was such a mistake. Our “trainer” put us on an extremely low-calorie eating plan (FYI certified personal trainers can give you ideas of what to eat, or portion ideas, but they cannot give you a specific plan without additional certifications or expertise), but would tell us to eat a bagel after each workout. I still don’t understand. He gave us a really strange example of a fitness routine, and it eventually sucked me into the “more is more” mentality that would lead to the next point…
3) Overtraining. I started to believe that the more I did, the better it was. Little did I know, I was eating away the precious muscle I had worked so hard to build. I took a LOT of fitness classes -especially when we lived in Fayetteville, I was bored, and the gym had a fantastic schedule- and by doing so much, I was actually hindering my results. I started to get some serious overtraining symptoms, and knew I had to scale back. It wasn’t until I scaled my workouts way back (but kept the intensity) that I finally saw the results I had been looking for.
4) Not fueling myself properly for my workouts. This is something that took me a long time to learn, and is still constantly evolving. I would work out on an empty stomach, or fail to replenish afterwards, and found myself getting injured, tired, or hit the wall way before I should have. I think my exact methods will continue to change as my workouts (and modes) change, but at least I know now that I need to have a small bite before a workout (unless it’s super early) and definitely a meal afterwards with lots of water.
5) Trying to fit myself into a mold. As someone who likes to do a lot of different things, I found myself wanting to fit into a specific mode or label. I felt like I couldn’t be a spinning weightlifting barre-ing Zumba-ing yogi. I needed to be a runner. Or a lifter. Or a dancer. I felt all over the place, and if I wasn’t focusing on one thing, I kind of felt like I was failing at it (which, looking back now, is so silly). Now I embrace the fact that variety is the spice of my fitness life. Sometimes I run more often that usual, others I’m all about dance, or super into yoga; it changes based on how I feel. When you lead an active life that leaves you healthy and feeling energized, labels don’t matter.
The good news is that you can change any of these things at any time. There are always little tweaks we can make to properly fuel ourselves, give ourselves sufficient time to rest and rebuild, and add (or subtract) habits from our routine. Also, if you ever need help setting up a fitness plan, I have a ton of tips and strategies here. <— shameless book plug
What’s something that you had to learn the hard way with health and fitness? How often do you train now? Do you fit into a certain mold (runner, swimmer, dancer, etc), or are you a little all over the place like yours truly?
As always, I’m excited to read your comments! <3
Have a wonderful day.