This month marks 1 year of me on my fitness journey. Last year at this time, I moved into a 5 person shared apartment and one of my flatmates became my gym buddy. One day I just got up and felt the need to feel better about my body. I was not overweight, but I was constantly sick and tired. I wanted to be tone and I wanted to be fit. I wanted to LOVE my body. I begin by following Kayla Itsines workout, you can google her. Now I follow some of her workouts and incorporate my own and it depends on which areas I want to target that day. Of course working out is nothing without a change in your diet. I do not diet and starve myself, but I take extra consideration into what vitamins I am giving my body.
Before working out, I was about 52/53kg, I am 160cm. Now I am around 48 to 49kg. I have never felt better about my body in my entire life. Here are 10 tips for you about things I don’t do to stay fit.
(Of course I am not a fitness guru, or qualified nutritionist, but as a normal human being like you, this is what I do and CAN do)
1. Don’t Count Calories
This is controversial and debatable for obvious reasons, but I don’t count calories and I am never bothered to. The stress that comes from counting calories may reduce the effectiveness of your workout due to the production of stress hormones. Of course I do not overeat, what I mean is that you do not have to read the calories content of every item you pick up at the supermarket. Its not always about HOW MUCH you eat, its WHAT you eat.
2. Don’t Procrastinate
I know this sounds like a no brainer and it seems really difficult sometimes. However my mindset is that, the harder you think it is to not procrastinate, the harder it will be for you than it has to be. I always think about going to the gym as something as simple and easy as going into your favourite bookstore or video game store. Its something you want to do, and you won’t feel bad after going there. I try not to associate too much emotions with going to the gym. Sometimes I TRICK my brain into thinking that its uncomplicated, and I try not to feel anything about it. Not reluctance, not weariness, not even excitement or happiness, just nothing. Of course now I do get excited about going to the gym, but in the beginning you can try to feel NOTHING. This makes going to the gym less difficult, and you don’t have to stress the entire day over having to go to the gym. **Remember no one regrets going to the gym ever.
3. Don’t eat 3 big meals a day
I know that it is good for your body to eat on time, but eating more small meals keep your metabolism going. I do eat 3 slightly heavier portions meals a day, but I do eat whenever I am hungry. I can show you what I eat in a day in another blog post. But for a quick reference, in between meals, if I am hungry, I would go for one or two eggs, bananas, a slice of bread, a bowl of grapes. Sometimes its just cravings and you are not really that hungry.
4. Don’t do Cardio everyday
Yes cardio is important to burn those calories and fats, but cardio does not help you to tone up. You wouldn’t want to look like a skinny saggy bag. I do cardio every other day for 35-45mins. I would say it is important to stick to one single cardio exercise per day, if I am running that day, I stay on the treadmill the whole time. I will not alternate between cycling and running because your muscles need to get used to a movement. I do resistance training and weights every other day and this helps to tone my body. Yes I am not very muscular in the pictures because that’s not the look I am going for, but if you want those defined arms, you can add more weights Remember, don’t stay on that treadmill everyday!
5. Don’t drink soda
I avoid soda like a plague. I don’t think I need to explain why soda is bad for you. If you are a regular soda drinker, once you cut soda, you will witness DRAMATIC results. If you can’t help it, I would recommend carbonated sparkling water to replace your soda. In the beginning you may miss soda, but trust me, in the case of Soda, distance and time do not make the heart grow fonder.😉
6. Don’t compare yourself to others
Yes while it is good to have someone to look up to, someone that inspires you, stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone’s body is different and we change differently. Look at your own progress and do not be discouraged by what others have achieved and you haven’t. You will get there with your own time, and what you will turn out to be is completely unique. I go to the gym with my friends because we can spend time together and encourage each other. However I will never ever compare myself to any one of them because we are all different. We are all created uniquely.
7. Don’t consume refined sugar if possible
Like the soda advice its pretty self-explanatory. However I want to bring to your attention about ‘hidden’ sugar. Behind your ‘healthy’ muesli bar, oatmeal cookie, low fat chocolate bar, ‘sugar-free’ candy. This is when you should look at the ingredients on the packaging, do you see ingredients like fructose and sucrose? Unless its natural sweetness from whole foods, labels like ‘natural sweetener’ should also be avoided if possible. Of course its good to treat yourself once a while but just take note on a regular basis if you are consuming more hidden sugar than you realize.
8. Don’t drink fruit juice
I know that fruit juice sounds like the healthier option, but because the pulp and fiber are removed, the sugar from fruit juice just hits your body directly. I would recommend smoothie for a slightly better option. You can read more about it here. Also my go to morning breakfast would usually be a cup of freshly blended berries smoothie.
9. Don’t avoid Carbs like a plague
Yes we shouldn’t eat too much refined carbohydrates like pasta, bread and biscuits. However we do need good carbs to give us the energy to work out. Good carbs includes sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans and lentils.
10. Don’t focus on weight loss
When you work out, your muscles will become stronger and they will grow. Muscles growth will lead to weight gain but it doesn’t mean that you are not making progress. In fact, you should focus on how your body has changed instead of just focusing on the number on the scale. My body became much more toned, but I did not lose a lot of weight. So tell yourself, I want to be stronger and fitter, and not, I want to be skinny. :)
Hope this helps!