With everything in life, it’s a long journey and a learning curve. It’s also a journey that never ends. Fitness is something I’ve been into ever since I’ve started my weight loss journey at 13 years old. Yes, you’ve read it correctly, 13, before puberty had hit me. I’ve made mistakes, learnt so much, made even more mistakes over the ten plus years and am still learning now. Below, I list 10 things fitness mistakes I wish I knew back to when I had started my fitness journey.
Not Listening to My Body
The photo above is very fitting. I am guilty of this. A muscle strain, a sprained joint, recovering from an illness, food poisoning, you name it, it doesn’t stop me from squeezing in a workout. When everything was a-ok, I worked out twice a day, 6-7 days a week yet I wasn’t even reaching my goals. Being bed-bound was the only time I couldn’t do anything. Not resting my body resulted in exhaustion, feeling dizzy, faint, nauseous, and was without a doubt, slowly wasting away. I remember the exact feeling both physically and mentally. It wasn’t pleasant to say the least.
I had felt bad taking more time off to rest my body although it was immensely needed. Once I had gotten used to the idea of resting and listening to my body, I began to see a positive effect. Pushing my body is fine though there is a limit. I have already acknowledged said limit as well as the importance of resting.
Shortcuts Persistent and Consistent is Key
Insert the “Checking for abs after a workout” meme. No one will ever see results after one day, moreover, there certainly are no such things as shortcuts. Don’t be fooled by detox teas, waist trainers, fat loss patches etc. These will only give temporary to zero results. Not embarrassed to say I’ve tried them. Never again.
Giving up is certainly a lot easier than being persistent. Not seeing results can be a real downer and easily demotivates you. Been there done that. Having the I’ll start on Monday mindset once you’ve failed is a bad habit of mine. Nothing comes overnight. Like a lot of things in life, it takes time. It’s a journey where you’re going to have to deal with small failures, learn from them and learn something new. Adopting a be persistent, be consistent mindset will take you one step closer to where you want to be.
There’s No One Size Fits All Routine
What works for someone, may not possibly work for you. When people have told me that they’ve tried a certain workout and have seen results in x days/weeks, of course, I try it for myself. I don’t see the same results they had thus feeling disappointed. That’s because I didn’t factor in key elements such as my diet, lifestyle, starting weight, body composition, goals, workout intensity etc.
Everyone’s fitness goals differ from person to person. Focus on yourself and focus on your goals is all you need.
It’s Not Just About Cardio
When people hear the term “cardio”, they instantly think of running and the treadmill. Even the thought of it gives me shivers down my spine. I’m clearly not a cardio bunny. When I had started my fitness journey at 13, my routine was just cardio. I had lost fat and weight but didn’t have muscle tone. Toning was nonexistent for me and thought defined abs were made from running around during my P.E. class in secondary school. Oh, 13 year old me.
Adding resistance training had made a big difference and given me results cardio alone wasn’t able to give. Everyone will benefit from incorporating both cardio and resistance training no matter what your goals are.
You Can’t Spot Reduce
The first area I store fat is in my midsection. Thanks genetics… We all wish spot reduction was actually possible but to contrary belief, science says no. I’m not going to delve into how much time I’ve wasted believing and trying. Next.
Take Progress Photos, Note Down Measurements and Workout Progress
Go on, take those photos. Be a little vain. It’s for your own benefit. From the very beginning, Back then, I’ve never taken any progress photos or jotted down any numbers. I did make a mental note of both my weight and body measurements, however, this had developed into an extremely unhealthy and toxic obsession. With the sense of shame and embarrassment when it had come to my body, I just couldn’t bring myself to take progress photos from the beginning.
I had the “wing it” mindset and had chosen the weight that had felt right. By not recording the kgs used, I was most likely using the same weight and not building progress. I do take a mental note but then I’d forget not long after. Constantly going back to square one. I’m getting better at it though, but not 100% there yet.
Genetics and Body Structure Plays a Big Part
I build lower body muscle a lot easier than my upper body, and so does my brother, thanks Papa Wong. Genetics does contribute to your body structure in addition to environmental factors too. 2007 GCSE Biology is coming back to me. It’s not my area of expertise so before I make a fool of myself, I’ll stop here.
Due to the stubbornness inside of me, I was in denial and truly thought I was able to obtain my ideal body shape but sadly, my bone structure won’t allow me to. It was a hard pill to swallow, nevertheless, it took years to come to terms with it. Not everyone will be able to have a thigh gap, have that tiny, defined waist, hourglass figure etc. Throw away that waist trainer, don’t go to the extremes and work with what you have.
Pre-workout Snack Makes a Big Difference
I’ve done HIIT first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and it wasn’t pleasant whatsoever. Weak, nauseous and regret are three words I would use. Haven’t done this again since. Actually, I’ve scrapped morning HIIT sessions overall.
I had a habit of not eating before a workout. Without a pre-workout snack, I was not working to my full potential and had felt weak. As compared with, there were noticeable differences in terms of energy and mentally. To me, a banana half an hour before a workout which is sufficient to keep me going without feeling weak and exhausted no matter the type of workout.
It Needs to Challenge You
Once you’re comfortable with a workout, it can be hard to get out of it as it’s within your own comfort zone. I’m the type who gives up when the going gets tough or if I can’t do a certain move, but have learnt that you must challenge your body to even see small results. I had the lazy mind frame too. Our body is capable of doing many things and it’s likely not used to certain abilities so we need to train it. It’s a wonderful feeling when you realise you can do it. Going step by step, working your way up is key rather than jumping straight into the deep end. The latter was the reason for my giving, can’t be bothered attitude.
Nutrition is Key
Everyone has heard of the common saying “abs are made in the kitchen” and this is so true. Previously, I’ve tried many crazy diets, over-exercised whenever I ate badly and it’s had a negative impact on my health
I’ve never been really strict with my diet; I don’t count macros and do treat myself cheat days. It’s been a learning curve over many years, however, I now know what I need as I fully understand my body and my health conditions. All in all, you can’t outdo a bad diet.