Let's all be honest - eating healthily and working out regularly isn't the easiest thing to get excited about for most people. I'm sure some genuinely are passionate about keeping their bodies in peak condition and I absolutely applaud their discipline - but anything that takes discipline requires work. For those of you reaching the end of this first quarter of the year and starting to wane a little or doubt your progress with health goals, I thought I'd check in with how I'm doing with mine and let you know what has been working for me.

The start of the year was a bit of a trying one, rather than diving back into exactly why, I'll just say it was a mix of personal and circumstantial discontent which saw us move home - something that comes with its own challenges. I hadn't seen my family in some time, I felt restless and unsettled and it really took me a while to hit my stride. Having said that, in the month of March I made a decision to get real with my personal goals and start seeing a personal trainer. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

I've been seeing my personal trainer Magda for a month now (perhaps just over) and I see her once a week - once a month for a one hour session, three times half hour sessions. I go to the gym by myself 2-3 times a week outside of these sessions. We mainly focus on HIIT (high intensity interval training) and weight-training sessions, with a lot of emphasis on TRX and kettle bells. I've had a personal trainer before and just find having someone I trust to set my programme and motivate me really helpful. It's a personal thing, but for me? It's ideal.

A month in and I've noticed (and my family and boyfriend have noticed) real changes in my body. I feel stronger, I have more defined muscles in my legs, bum and arms, and I've lost a lot of weight from around my tummy and my face. Depressingly, my boobs always seem to disappear first when I lose weight too - thanks, pear-shaped body of mine. Solid choices.

I still feel really good and enthusiastic about my journey and excited to keep working hard, so I thought while I'm in a good headspace about it, I should share some of the things that have been helping me along - and hopefully they'll help you too!

BE PREPARED: 90% of this is mindset. Maybe even more. Maybe 99%. You have to be ready to make the commitment to work out regularly, to eat better, to give up certain things about your lifestyle that you've grown accustomed to. That isn't work that happens from looking at Kayla Itsines on Instagram or watching Tone It Up videos - that work is internal. You've got to get yourself there, and get your mind to a place where you're feeling positive and prepared to put in the time and effort you need to. For me? It was seeing photos of me looking tired, puffy, and so different to how I looked when I was at my most fit and healthy. I decided I could lay blame anywhere I wanted, but this was where I was and I was the only person who could make things any better. I went and booked a personal training session the next day.

FIND WHAT WORKS: I do better with a trainer. I'm more accountable, I'm a people-pleaser so I don't like to let Magda down at all, which makes me in-turn work harder. This doesn't mean this is going to work for everyone. Some people really feel clarity and calm going out for a run alone to clear their minds. For some, it's team-based sports (something I absolutely dread - P.E. lessons from the past will haunt me forever). Another form of exercise that has work, and probably would still work for me if I could find a class I liked, was dance. When I was at drama school I used to take dance class four or five times a week and I've never been in better shape.

SUPPORT YOURSELF: When it comes to this goal, I've been a little incentive-happy. My old, ratty sports bra was looking a little tired, so I invested in a beautiful new one that I look forward to putting on. If I fancy stocking up on some fresh fruit and veg to snack on, I treat myself. I think you have to take the opportunities you can to be kind to yourself, especially if one of your goals is to lose weight. Buy yourself the bath bomb. Take the night to pamper yourself after a hard workout. It's also totally okay to curl up and watch some Netflix back-to-back when your muscles are sore.

ACCEPT THINGS WILL CHANGE: One of the harder aspects of taking on this challenge has been recognising that my body doesn't immediately respond to hard work if I'm not also putting consideration into what I'm eating. I thought I could work super hard at the gym and carry on eating the way I had been, but I had to learn to accept that this goal would mean a change in my lifestyle, which I resisted for a while. Right now, I'm working on the basis of clean weeks, and treat weekends, but I'm listening to my trainer and also to what I'm seeing and how I'm feeling, and I'll adjust as necessary.

DECIDE YOUR 'NON NEGOTIABLES': If I don't have my headphones in the gym, I'm a write-off. Seriously, might as well go home. My trainers WILL blister my feet on the treadmill if I don't wear socks. If I buy junk food to keep in the house, it's going to get eaten - probably all in one go in a horrible guilt-binge-guilt cycle. If I drink, I'm not going to order the slimline tonic with lime and vodka that I should if I was being *super mindful* about my weight. I also will never, ever turn my back on cheese. This is basically about knowing yourself - we all have unhealthy 'triggers' and situations in which we're less likely to stick to our goals than others. The simple bottom line is, try to put yourself in those situations less. I'm cutting down on drinking after work and eating out. I don't buy snacks or junk food with our shopping anymore. I keep a spare set of headphones in my gym back, along with a spare pair of socks, so I know I've always got back ups. Getting upfront with yourself about these 'non negotiables' early on makes for a much easier ride as you go along.

I hope that was helpful guys! I'm thinking about making more of a series about my health journey, let me know if you'd be interested in seeing this - what would you like to see more of? What I Eat in a Day? My programme at the gym? Let me know!

1 comment

  1. I FEEL LIKE WE ARE THE SAME.

    Firstly, well done, because I have always felt like starting is the HARDEST part. It tests you and pushes you more to your limits than in any other phase, don't you think? It is struuuuugle street!!

    Secondly, I totally am the same about needing a trainer. For me it was the motivation - I have the motivation to change, but I have no motivation to get my ass to the gym. If I don't lock myself in for something, I won't go. So I book my PT sessions, because I hate cancelling so I know I always go! Haha. It is really nice to have someone else tell you you've done well though. I've had a few sessions where she's remarked at how well I'm actually doing and it's kind of nice! Like, thanks! The pool of sweat is totally worth it!

    I am also doing the clean week, treat weekend thing. I NEED something to look forward to or I lose motivation. I think if you just gave up everything delicious cold turkey you would just hate life, and that's no way to live! And who in their right mind gives up cheese?!

    Now the downside: Barely making it back to your car when your legs feel like actual jelly.

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