Istruggle with consistency when it comes to health and fitness. Regular exercise is one thing, but maintaining a strict diet when oxtail tastes so good?! Impossible. As I mentioned in my previous post, exercise improves my mental wellbeing and helps me to look good at carnival. I’m still a work in progress, but I’ve managed to settle into a gym routine that works for me and maintain healthy eating habits. I’ve outlined the three things that steered me in the right direction below.
Commit to your decision
Prior starting my health and fitness journey, I talked endlessly about joining the gym. After going back and forth over my options and even cancelling a membership after four days, I committed to my current gym. I’ve yet to find a good reason for procrastination and in the long run starting a workout program will be the easiest part of your entire journey.
Committing to your decision doesn’t mean you’re tied to your initial choice, but it provides a starting point, bringing you one step closer to your final goal. The wisdom about the best time to plant a tree (if not 20 years ago, today) is especially relevant to health and fitness where starting early matters if you want a summer body in summer. Stop making excuses and start today!
Take baby steps
My first ever gym routine prescribed a fitness instructor consisted of two leg days and an upper body day. As a newbie I’d seen several complex health and fitness routines in magazines and on Instagram that I assumed I needed to be doing so much more. Three years later and I’ve got the best results by keeping it simple and being consistent for three months or more.
As I said before, I struggle with consistency but know there are no shortcuts in the gym; skip a few workouts and your decline in strength will humble you real quick! You can combat this by setting realistic exercise goals and choosing a routine that fits your schedule. For example, I did a four-day program and would always skip the fourth day, now I’ve scaled it back to three and it’s a lot more manageable. If you’re just starting out or getting back in the game, I’d recommend a gym routine that allows for progressive overload — I’m currently doing StrongLifts 5×5 and so far, so good.
It’s okay to have off days
I have to work really hard at not becoming run down. The usual pattern is three months of a consistent health and fitness routine followed by some form of illness and suddenly I’m off track. Adequate rest is important (both sleep and days off) so don’t make yourself feel bad for needing to take time off. Even with regards to mental health, there may be days where exercise will be too much and that’s okay too. I once pushed myself into running through intense anxiety and nearly fell off a manual treadmill — it wasn’t worth it or even remotely beneficial.
I’m nowhere near my fitness goals but I’ve managed to develop a healthy relationship with health and fitness by focusing on getting stronger rather than chasing gains. This post is to remind you to keep going even when you feel like giving up because each step counts.
My next post in the series will explore the process of healing and practising self-care. In the meantime, comment below with your tips and tricks for staying healthy.