Happy 13th guys! I am heading off to London tonight ready to head to Germany in the morning so many Christmas market posts will be coming your way over the next week. In the mean time, I thought I would reflect on my fitness journey so far and share with you guys some top tips that I wish I would have known when I was a beginner.
Little throwback to me about 4 months into my journey! Must have been in the morning because abs are slightly visible…
The scary section isn’t actually scary (and neither are the people in it).
When I first started I was terrified of going into the weights section. I stuck to the cardio and resistance machines, staying as far away from the strength and conditioning room (or as I called it the ‘scary area’) as possible. Gymtimidation is real and it took me a long time to get over it. One thing I was is that I had the confidence to go in long before I did. The scary section isn’t actually scary. In fact, it’s now where I feel the most comfortable and confident in myself. The people I was intimidated by are some of the kindest I know and have helped me so much to learn and develop on my fitness journey. I’ve met some of my best friends at the gym and I only wish I would have known this earlier. If you’re scared of hitting the free weights, you’re definitely not alone but I promise when I started I was totally clueless. I was unfit and unhealthy. I was overweight and very weak. I went in and I did it and it’s the best thing I’ve done.
No two bodies are the same.
It’s so easy to compare yourself to people you see on social media or in the gym. It’s easy to get disheartened because you aren’t seeing the same physical progress or you’re not as strong. I still get annoyed that my squat isn’t quite right, but that’s my body and to have success, I found the best way was to love my body. It was to learn about my strengths and weakness and continue to work on my goals, whilst appreciating and showing my body love and compassion the whole way. You’re going to get annoyed. You’re going to have bad sessions and there is always going to be someone you think is doing that bit better. But you are you and they’re them. Be proud of yourself and remember your only competition should be your past self.
Progress isn’t linear.
When I started training I saw loads of progress really quickly but soon hit a plateau and got very disheartened. I soon learnt that to continue seeing progress I was going to have to shake things up and keep pushing my body in new ways. Even so, sometimes I go through stages I feel like I’m going nowhere or even going backwards, but it’s completely normal. When I compare myself to when I started I am totally different, both physically and mentally (even if it doesn’t always feel like it).
You don’t need loads of fancy equipment and supplements, just yourself.
I’d been lifting about 3 months when I was sure I needed every supplement and fancy equipment on the planet. I spent a fortune and thought I wasn’t going to see any progress without protein powder, BCAAs and everything else you could imagine. The truth is, these things have their place and they can be useful, but they’re not necessary. You don’t need to spend a fortune to see progress. Of course, there’s equipment I would like and I think will help me to progress but before I thought it was the be all and end all. It really isn’t. You don’t need fancy clothes or shoes, you just need yourself and some motivation.
Not everyone is going to get it.
Not everyone in my life ‘got it’. I have been mocked and judged, all for going to the gym and making decisions about my health and lifestyle. I was really surprised that this was going to be something that made me realise who my true friends are, but it really has. It has also given me the opportunity to meet some fantastic new people who I have so much in common with. I’ll be honest, it was difficult at times. Especially when people found my blog and Instagram as a lot of people found it very amusing but, hey, people are always going to talk. Going predominantly plant based is another thing that has received a very mixed reception from friends and family but it is important to remember you’re doing it for you.
Invest in yourself.
I’ve mentioned my squat problem a lot on my blog and it is something I really wish I’d have taken more seriously from the start. £30 for a physiotherapist seemed excessive and I was sure it was going to get better on its own. It hasn’t. Even after seeing a physio I still struggle due to past injuries, however, it is much better now and I am a lot more patient with myself. Sometimes investing in yourself is important. You have to prioritise and £30 for some new leggings seemed reasonable, so why was it too expensive to invest in my health and future performance?
If you can’t do something, ask.
Don’t hurt yourself trying something you’re not sure about and don’t feel like an idiot for asking. Everyone starts somewhere. At the start I would avoid certain exercises and equipment just because I didn’t know what I was doing. People who work there are there to help you out and people who are training are usually more than willing to show you what they know. Not asking for help can really limit you in your training. If you want to try something but you’re not sure don’t hesitate in asking for help.
It’s more than the physical.
I’m not sure about this one. Part of me wishes I’d have known that training was going to have such an impact on my life, my mental health and my ambitions for the future, but then the other part of me has enjoyed finding it out along the way. Exercise and fitness has been far more than simply squatting and lifting weights, it’s been overcoming my mental health issues and regaining confidence in myself. It has given me a focus and a goal. Fitness had totally changed my life, hence decided to train to become and Personal Trainer (and, in time, train to work with people working people working with mental health issues) – I want to be able to help other people too.
I hope this has been helpful for some of you beginners and gives you motivation to keep going! Any questions then get in touch and I will be more than happy to help.