Being a lover of health and fitness isn’t necessarily about having the best body, it’s about getting to know yourself, your strengths and limitations, working on them and loving them.
There are so many fitness blogs and Instagram’s out there, we are spoilt for choice, but I want to share my personal fitness story as each and everyone is different!
Below is me now, and I am searching for a ‘before’ picture to compare… easier said than done because I just used to delete all the ones I didn’t like – but – there’s bound to be one somewhere so watch this space.
Up until I was about 18/19 I didn’t have a clue about fitness. I knew that over eating and low exercise would eventually have an impact on my health, but I never really took an interest until I started reading about Nutrition and Weight Loss when I was at uni. Around this time, my uncle also passed away of a heart attack, aged 50, which shocked me into thinking about the control I had over my health, and the impact I have on my own body. To be honest when I started it was in dribs and drabs at first. I joined a weekly Zumba class with my mum, just because, and still wasn’t really cautious of the food I was eating – but I saw a slight change in my body, which quickly gave me the buzz that most talk about – you see the results and get ‘hungry’ to continue!
My mum has been a slimming world member since I was little, so just out of curiosity I started to pick up little bits of info from her, and the booklets. (The great thing about Slimming world is that you don’t deprive yourself of food – you just learn to control how much you are eating, and slightly modify fat and carb intake.) I did this over one summer whilst at uni, and I saw results probably after the first 3 weeks, my clothes fitted a lot better and I felt a lot better after eating. I didn’t get the bloat or cramps, which I now know is probably from a mixture of bread/carbs and sugar.
Naturally with anyone that looses weight (I think I lost about a stone all in all) there is a chance that you will start to loose muscle if you don’t exercise. When I saw results, I lost interest in exercise and put all my energy into eating the right foods, watching my carbs and fats. At the time this was fine for me, I didn’t really have the knowledge that I could sculpt my body in a way that I wanted to, I was focused on loosing fat (perhaps like a lot of women are).
Eventually after becoming complacent with a strict food regime, I joined a gym. After loosing weight, I realised my body shape may benefit from toning up. I have naturally always had muscle in my legs, but my upper body strength was weak, and I had no definition in my abs. The gym was daunting at first. I hadn’t worked out before, apart from doing generic abs bums and tums videos from YouTube, or going for a 20 minute run. Weights? It was scary. The first few times I went to the gym, I stuck to the running machine like glue. I would do a 40 minute run, sweat buckets, shower and go home. I wouldn’t step foot in the weights area. I didn’t think it would ever be for me. I had no idea how it could be beneficial, so I just wrote it off.
I think one of the ways social media can have a positive impact is in cases like mine and others who are able to look up different exercises or training ideas. Through my blog, which is like having access to an entire world of people willing to share their own stories – I started to read a lot about fitness and working out, nutrition and looking after your body. I took notice of positioning when doing weights, how to use food for fuel instead of greed, and how to combine a mix of cardio and weight training to create the look you wanted.
I know I said at the beginning of this entry that being involved in health and fitness isn’t all about how you look (and its not) – but it certainly helps to fuel you, it isn’t a bad thing to start to love yourself!
And it grew from there. One day I picked up free weights, trying out exercises that I had seen on blogs and videos. Then I moved onto using more of the gym equipment, squat rack, lat machine, leg press. Eventually if there was a bit of equipment in the gym I hadn’t tried, I was all over it. (I probably looked like a fool half the time). But like anything, the more you practice, the better you get.
Throughout this time, I’ve also had one of the best realisations, something that before I would have said in passing or agreed with as a general assumption without really realising what it meant for me – ‘Nobody is perfect’. Typing it now I do feel like a cliche, but nothing has struck me more. Everyone is perfectly flawed in their own way. Everyone has their own insecurities, parts of them they wish they could change, but no one has it all! Going through my ‘loosing weight’ stage, I wished the weight would come off of my legs – even now they are the biggest part of my body (just with a bit more muscle and a lot less fat), some things you just can’t change – embrace them.
(To be Continued…)