10 Things You Should Know Before you Embark on your Fitness Journey

It should go without saying that a fitness journey is just that. A journey. It’s an on going process and I hope that it will continue to remain that way. It’s no secret to those close around me that over the past couple of years, coming up to three now, I have been increasingly more involved with my health and fitness. Like many others, my initial intention was weight loss, and whilst I did achieve that, it soon became a stepping stone to a whole new lifestyle entirely. I’m no expert in fitness and can’t say I have a coaching qualification of any sort but what I do know, I’ve learnt from first hand experience. Having said that, here are some things that I feel are vital for everyone to know and some things that are not quite vital but certainly quite helpful.

  1. Losing weight is about changing your lifestyle.

It sounds like i’m just saying what everyone else says but honestly if the goal is to lose weight then what do you do when you’ve reached that goal? Do you just stop everything you’ve been doing?  The healthiest way to lose weight requires a change in your lifestyle, because you’re essentially getting rid of what’s bad for you and replacing it with something that’s good. There are no shortcuts because if one day you decide to stop then all those bad habits pop back up and your efforts are wasted. I believe the key to losing weight is to start by changing your lifestyle in small ways so that you are forming new habits, good habits, that eventually will make the biggest difference to your life. For example, drinking hot/warm water when you wake up. Eating a banana each day. This is a change regardless of how small and it has such a profound effect. You’re giving your body something good or you’re doing something good for it and it knows it. In return, your body rewards you with little accomplishments, like if you get your 8 hours sleep you feel less lethargic. The same goes for exercise. If you decide you are going to work out it can’t be one intensive week at the gym and then two weeks off, your body will understand that it was just a one time thing and you’ll wonder why nothing’s changing. You won’t see any changes through inconsistency. Build a routine that is constant and continuous. You could maybe decide that you’ll go to a group exercise class three times in a week at a time that fit around your schedule.  Make it so that your body is so used to the new habits you can’t live without them. Trust me, when you do something good for your body you will feel like you can’t live without it. As you eventually build new habits your body will adjust in wondrous ways because you’re treating it right.

2. Lifestyle means commitment.

I hate to say it because it seems quite obvious that some form of commitment is required if the term lifestyle is used and yet this is the hardest aspect of getting and staying fit. Sometimes I think the prospect of failing in the middle, missing a workout, binge eating, is what stops people from going for it in the first place. I’d be lying if I say I haven’t done it myself, but once you throw away the idea that you’re going to fail you’re pretty much ready to get started. You’ll realise soon enough that when you miss a workout, or when you end up binge eating, it’s not a failure it’s all part of the process. If you do ever binge eat, you need to tell yourself that no matter what, the routine that you set yourself up for is still in place. Once you’ve gotten into your lifestyle of good habits the little bumps along the way won’t even make a big difference because when you’re back on the treadmill you’ll realise that it was more like a treat for you than a disaster. Throw away the idea that somewhere along the way you’ll give up. If you’re committed then trust in yourself that you can stay committed for the rest of the journey, because you really can. Remind yourself every time you miss a workout, that it’s because you wanted to relax and not because you couldn’t be bothered. If you weren’t bothered you wouldn’t have started in the first place. Really commit to living not only a healthier but a happier life.

3. The very essence of lifestyle, is time.

Surprise surprise, everyone’s favourite tip. I feel that this point is very underrated. It doesn’t seem to stick in anyone’s mind despite how many professionals, amateurs, anyone who knows anything has said it. People hear this and they dismiss it. The reason why I am even attempting to share this point is because I found that it is so, so, important to first understand and accept that losing weight takes time. Think of losing weight as a healing process because in theory it is. Imagine all the bad habits you’re stuck in as bruises, cuts and broken bones. Instead of beating your body to a pulp in a second the only difference is you’ve done this slowly and painfully. You’ve slowed your bodily functions down so that they work inefficiently and you’ve damaged your body to the point that you’re bed ridden. The only way to recover is to be patient with yourself and your body’s healing time. You’ve beaten yourself up but you know for sure that one day you’ll be able to stand again and you’ll be as good as, if not better than you once were,but this doesn’t happen in a day, a night, or even a week or two, because you have to train. You’re training your body to get into the best possible physic it can be in and training means constant, continuous effort over a long period of time. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun but if you want to feel golden again you take the time to go through each step carefully so that it’s golden and only golden that you feel, nothing else.

4. Spend your time doing something you love.

When I first started working out, the only kind of exercise that had me motivated was Pilates.  I hated any kind of cardio and to be fair kind of still do because my stamina is atrocious. I also found that I preferred working out on my own in the comfort of my room so that I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. This happened to be the one of the most important decisions I had made (after commitment and all.) At the time, Pilates was something that I genuinely loved doing, I didn’t like going to the gym, running the treadmill or generally any kind of running, I didn’t particularly like lifting weights either. I found joy in simply doing Pilates by myself. I say simply but anyone who has done pilates knows that it gets pretty hard. The point is, I found that following Pilates videos online was the best thing for me because not only did I enjoy the workouts I could see it was making a difference, I started noticing changes and that made me feel good. Feeling good with what I was doing made me want to keep doing it and this drove everything else in my life that I mentioned above. A year or so later, I noticed that whilst I enjoyed pilates, I had become so used to it that I could no longer feel its initial effects on me. The really sweet muscle pains and the sweat drops down the forehead. So I tried out other things like indoor cycling, swimming and body pump classes. The trick is that once you’ve got a routine down, you can try a variety of different methods of working out and find one that really makes you love working out. If you love what you do, there’s nothing to stop you from doing it and you always have something to look forward to. If you get bored with what you do then you know that there’s something you have to change.

5. When you’re doing something  you love you will feel happier.

As cheesy and as cliche as it sounds, it’s quite literally the biggest lesson I’ve taken away from the whole process. I now find that keeping fit, exercising, eating good foods is something I can’t stay away from. It’s formed a part of my identity and I make sure that whatever I’m doing, I always have time to take care of my body and that’s all because I feel a whole lot happier knowing that I’m doing something right. After persevering through it all the changes are that much sweeter so just know that you have something to look forward to and that whilst the climb is incredibly tough the view is completely worth the while.

The tips below will hopefully give you a little kickstart.

6. Drink Green Tea.

I never imagined that there’d come a day when I’d say that I love green tea, but those days have come. I think I may have gotten the idea from a youtube video or videos for that matter but when they say that green tea detoxes, it really does. You only need to drink one mug in a day, and it’s got a bitter taste so adding honey, or lemon will give it a bit more flavour. Like I say these are just tips, so feel free to carry on having your standard black tea with milk if you wish. I started off having a mug a day and that’s now turned into at the very least three mugs a day because I feel it’s effects and I feel incomplete without it now.

7. Drink a cup of warm honey and lemon infused water in the mornings.

Drinking this on an empty stomach straight after you wake up works wonders. You instantly feel refreshed. If you have any sinus problems it clears your nose and chest and it’s extremely helpful to your digestive system if you know what I mean…

8. The clean pee trick.

By pee, I literally mean pee. I have to admit I heard this one from Cassey Ho, “Blogilates” on youtube. It was such an old video but I still remember watching it quite vividly and it’s stuck with me since. So if you’ve heard of drinking eight glasses of water and you can never stick to it then maybe try sticking to this. Just keep drinking water until your pee is clear. Essentially, urine is the toxins inside your body being released and if your urine is a clear transparent colour this is inevitably a very good sign. From experience I can say this works, keep drinking water, stay hydrated, especially if you’re working out.

9. Do not go on some special kind of diet.

If you’re eating and working out regularly and healthily then you will not need to change that. Diet by definition means the food that you eat. You just have to be aware that the foods you are eating are not detrimental to your health. So quite undeniably if you’re eating KFC breakfast, lunch and dinner then yes, you need to change your diet. However, if you’re having a cereal that contains chocolate ingredient then there is no harm done I promise you. That being said you’d be a bit reckless if you had a whole packet of cookies for lunch and a packet of crisps too.Is it detrimental to your health? Yes. Because of the sugars and fats. You can have a chocolate bar in a day but is it really necessary to have chocolate chip cookies too? Everything in balance is alright – it’s funny that I’m saying this but that pie chart (excuse the pun) for a balanced diet they showed us back in primary school, well that pretty much applies to reality.

Details of a balanced diet can be found by typing it in the google search bar. Have fun.

10. Restore your energy.

There used to be days where I would work out and not have a substantial meal to eat afterwards and this really worked against me. I didn’t do it on purpose, mostly I was just careless, nevertheless although it’s obvious it needs to be stated that not eating enough whilst working out regularly can make you tired, at times more tired than you used to be when you didn’t work out, so make sure to eat a snack after you work out and then a good amount of food for each of your meals.

 I hope that these few tips help in some way or another and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about either what I’ve written or just in general about my fitness journey. I wish you all the best on yours.

 

 

 

 

The Technicalities (Eye Contact)

In my about page, I briefly describe (in like 6 words) how I much prefer writing short stories or just any prose in general. I’ve never been a poet really, so this blog acts as a sort of platform for my experiments. I have a better experience in prose writing as that’s what they usually tell you to write in you A-levels, GCSE, I think you could go as far back as SATS as well. ‘They’ being the exam boards and then encouragingly the teachers as well so you don’t get much practice with poetry but this also means my portfolio of prose writing would probably be big if I actually took the time to collect all my work and put it together. What I’m getting at, is that, I have a lot of writing that is lost… hidden, whatever you want to call it and so my friend and “Writing Valet” as she likes to be known showed me this piece I wrote for her birthday. Usually I look back on my old pieces with disgust and awe, “Did I really write that?” but with Eye Contact I didn’t seem to do that. I sort of liked it. The story is based on her situation at the time it was written. We found it so hilarious that I actually took the effort to write what had happened into a story, laminate it as a bookmark and gift it as birthday present.

There isn’t much to be said about the story as it speaks for itself, and so I hoped that in posting it, people are able to relate, as I’m sure many people have been in a similar situation if not the same.

Hope you enjoy more of my short stories – that is if I can find them…

The Technicalities (In Between)

There are two poems in this… series you could say, the first (In Between 1) is a cinquain. This was a poem created in a workshop we had. I urge you to do it too because I found it really stimulating, especially having nothing to write about, ever. We were instructed to think in silence for a minute, about all the things we could be in between. This means physically to metaphysically. So as an example, we were given the ceiling and the floor, or the two walls. If we think bigger than this, then, the buildings and so on. And after we had thought of all the possibilities we could come up with in that minute, we had to scribe these down as soon as the minute was over, without a moments break, not even to lift your pen off the paper. It had to be one flowing thought. Once a minute was up we had to simply stop. And then from the long or short paragraph that we had managed to scribe we were asked to make a cinquain. A poem with 5 lines with a syllable count that went 2,4,6,8,2. It was much harder then I had thought because I had written all sorts of things down and then to put these together in a poem with such restrictions made it just that extra bit harder, but I had a go anyway. I came up with the end result and it was amazing to see how my poem was so basic in comparison to the creativity that other people in my class had come up with. I merely started off small from the tables in the room to the stars in the galaxy while other people talked about much deeper things. I’m not saying I disliked my poem because in fact I actually liked it… but as my lecturer says, we are not Mozart. Our pieces of work are not the ‘word of God’, they are not perfect the moment they leave the fingertips and so I know mine isn’t perfect in fact it’s just too bland.. pun intended, but I still like it anyway, I guess I’m more simplistic than I thought.

In Between (2) was written after reading Cerrickfergus by Louis MacNeice, his was a sort of in between poem but more free form. So we gave that a go and found it was obviously much easier, now that you could write whatever you want without worrying that your syllable count was one too many. If anyone has read Cerrickfergus you probably know the poem is about MacNeice’s birthplace and so we had to base our poem around that too. I tried to write a poem that was creative like the rest of my class and I think it’s a bit visible here. I did do some re touching on the poem because as I said I’m not perfect and if I’m honest, redrafting a poem can either be deadly stressful or great fun. Luckily it was the latter for me this time around and so it turned out not to be so bland after all. Pun totally intended.

The Technicalities (My First Essay)

I absolutely love haiku’s. Love love love. Why? Because there is only one rule and that is the easiest rule to follow in writing. It’s easy because you don’t have to make it a flowing and elegant poem, or a work of art. It can be edgy and make sense to you and you alone if you want, as long as it sticks to the syllable count. This can be restrictive for some in the sense that you may come one syllable too many and have to restructure the sentence but for me it’s the perfect amount to say what you want without beating around the bushes, without the flowery display of adjectives and it still can have the same power that any other form of poetry has.
This haiku is an immediate reaction to my first essay. I wrote it exactly as it came to my mind, with no alterations and in three short lines it describes exactly what happened, how I felt and the point of it. Since it’s short it also reflects on the atmosphere that I was surrounded by. Nothingness really. Just me, my books and an essay that wasn’t getting done. I hope people like this one as much as I do because in an essence I feel that it describes me. Short precised and to the point but at the same time a student who struggles to write her essay.

The Technicalities (Appointment in Semarra)

Workshop 2. Our lecturer told us a short chilling story that was based on Arabian Folktale about a merchant who was told by his master to purchase stock from the market in Baghdad. When the merchant went to the market he was met by a black cloaked figure on horseback who glared at him with the eyes of death. Scared, the merchant ran back to his master demanded a horse for him to travel on and he fled to Semarra to be as far away as possible from death. The master, flustered and annoyed went to the market himself to purchase the stock and there he met death and sought to question him. He asked death why he had to scare his servant away, but death replied, he didn’t mean to, he was just shocked to see him in Baghdad when he had an appointment with him in Semarra that evening.

The task was to choose a form of poetry and write a poem in this form that told or reflected the story. I chose to write a ballad and as I have mentioned before have struggled a lot with metres so found it hard to stick to the rules of a ballad, after 2 drafts this was the result and still no where near a ballad, however I really liked how it sounded and didn’t want to change it so there we have it… Appointment in Semarra

The Technicalities (The Pilgrimage)

This poem came to me very quickly, I was in a sort of a fun, laughing mood with one of my friends and it was just one of those moments where I managed to find happiness in anything and everything, and everything just made me laugh.
It began with an early evening walk to find the new village bookshop where an open mic night was to be held and we walked all the way to and past the place. We just carried on walking until we reached a road where there were no longer any shops so we kind of figured we had gone the wrong road. We then made our way back, again looking out for the bookshop but we couldn’t find it so we stopped at a small store and got ourselves some drinks because believe it or not an hour had passed. We purchased our drinks and decided there was no way we were going to find the place so we headed back home. But it was only 8 ‘o’ clock,so no, we didn’t want to go home just yet. Instead we went to the university library but we didn’t actually go to do work, instead we went to the group study floor and stayed there until 11:30. What we did I can’t even remember but we were laughing at all sorts of things and my friend filled my snap story with a ridiculous amount of images and videos which at the time were hilarious but when I opened them the next morning they seemed to be the type that would annoy a Snapchat contact. Anyway while we were there, we thought we’d have a look at Google maps on the computer to check where the book shop was for future reference and we stopped right outside it at one point. I found this to be quite amusing when I was in such a high state of mind so I wrote this poem about that.
You can probably guess why the poem is called pilgrimage, it was sort of a joke we made since we spent hours just walking a long road that seemed to be leading no where but had some reason behind it and I changed the library to ‘home’ just because it would’ve made more sense to a reader rather than if I said library 🙂