You can often convince yourself to like something, no matter how much you hate it from the get go. It doesn’t matter if that ‘something’ is important, for example part of your job or of benefit to your health, or perhaps not so important, for example maybe wanting to eat a new food or try a new hobby. Either way, it’s a challenge, and everybody needs to feel challenged now and then. As an example of something totally unimportant, I used to tea, coffee and most healthy foods. Now, my diet is all of the above, and the only reason this happened is because I kept trying it all until I liked it. Why? Because it’s all too easy to take the simple route and avoid the challenge. A healthy diet isn’t the only thing I’ve come to love through sheer perseverance, the other, is fitness.
I was the girl at school who would do anything to get out of P.E, and only putting in 20% effort when I eventually had to participate. It wasn’t the fitness aspect I didn’t like, it was the feeling of judgment I got from some of the people I had to spend the hour with. I was never victimised, not to my knowledge anyway, but as an anxious person, I constantly felt like people were judging me. It’s this negative mentality that I began to associate with exercise in general, which nevertheless meant I hated it. So apart from walking a lot as a teenager, I did nothing. No classes, no sporting commitments, nothing.
How things change! Since around the age of eighteen, I’ve been exercising on a regular basis. It began with home workouts, such as those dreadful low impact DVDs, then slightly higher impact DVDs, and then twenty-eight minute HIIT style sessions which I did as part of the Kayla Itsines BBG programme. I saw minimal success doing these types of exercise, but what really grated on me was the fact that despite doing it day after day, I still hated it. I’d drag myself out of bed begrudgingly, pull on my workout clothes and head downstairs to endure a horrific, epic struggle of a workout, wishing it would end ASAP. But I stuck with it.
From roughly September 2015 onwards I began to find my ‘knack’ with fitness. I lessened the cardio and started picking up weights every so often. I had no structure as such, but I felt like I was achieving bigger and better things. Unfortunately my diet let me down, and so results were limited. Otherwise, I’m convinced I’d have had a booty to be proud of by the time I went to Greece in September last year. I didn’t, which proves that when people say that your nutrition is 80% responsible for your progress, they’re telling the truth. God damn all of that to-die-for Swiss chocolate in August!
In September 2016 I decided to give The Body Coach’s 90 Day SSS Plan a go, which you may have already read about. This style of training was hard, really hard, and while it did get me results, once again I didn’t enjoy it. I loved the HIIT in month one, but the GVT and Pyramid Training that I saw in month two and three were hell on earth, because let’s face it, 200 lunges is never okay! Come the end of the plan, I was dying to get back to my own style of training. I felt a bit lost, not knowing how many reps or sets to do, and whether to do split or mixed training days, but after a lot of research and help from a few pros, I had myself a decent training plan. One which I could adapt as and when I needed to, firstly to keep challenging my body, but secondly to keep things interesting.
Finally, after years of trial and error, I feel like I’m at a place with my gym routine where I can really push myself and make the best of every session. I lift weights, I do cardio, and I love both. In fact, since I’ve been doing my own plan (aka, one with way less reps), I’ve discovered that actually, I’m pretty strong. I can lift about 4x the amount I thought I could, and while I’m not quite deadlifting my body weight (or even close), I’m making progress week on week, which is such an empowering feeling. I might not have the abs to make me ‘worthy’ to many fitness enthusiasts, but challenge me to a burpee-off or a jump squat race and my level of endurance might just surprise you. Move over guys, women are strong too! I’m now at the point where I look forward to the gym. Maybe not so much the 5.40am start, but once I’m there, water bottle in hand and ready to go, I’m suddenly full of adrenaline and passion for fitness, which I have to say I as incredible feeling.
The most important factor? I don’t workout just to keep fit anymore. Of course I’m there for those #gains, but I’m also there because I respect my body and my mind, and both are improved when you let your guard down and sweat the hell out of your Nike sports bra and Pink Soda leggings. I am able to workout, which is a blessing, so I’m not going to take that for granted. I hope that by this time next year, even in six months’ time, I’m fitter and stronger than ever. I’m not going to go full bodybuilder on you guys, but I’d love to become an influential member of the health and fitness industry one day. That’s the dream, anyway.
Let me know if you want to read what I do at the gym, I’m happy to share! And if you have any other posts you’d like to see, or have any questions, please do drop me a message. Have a lovely weekend everyone! I have nine days off work after today, which means plenty of pancakes for Shrove Tuesday and less of that 5.40am gym alarm. Hallelujah.