I’ve always been a lazy child – well, lazy when it comes to exercise! I was that child that got detention in high school for not attending my 1 hour of sport every week. When I did attend sport, I opted for aerobics because it was the “easiest” way to get out of detention. And I was in pretty decent shape back then. So I didn’t really need to work out.
And then university happened and then first year spread happened and then life happened and then stretch marks and then cellulite became part of me. At my heaviest, I was 25 years old, 78.8kg and wearing size 16 clothes. I had tried the gym thing before with a friend of mine but my eating was still messed up so all the hard work I was putting in amounted to zero because of bad eating habits.
It took 1 real
life threatening conversation with my mum to get me back on track. This chat spurred my weight loss journey and now almost 3 years later and over 12 kg lighter, I’m better for it.
Looking back, I wish I had cultivated the habit of working out and eating healthy when I was younger. I think it would make waking up to go exercise every morning much easier. If I have kids of my own, good eating habits and fitness will be a part of their life growing up.
I initially started my fitness journey with just walking. Walking then progressed into running on Saturdays & Sundays. I stopped running when I developed runner’s knee and had to spend a huge chunk of my savings on physiotherapy. I also used my knee as an excuse because let’s not forget I am lazy when it comes to working out! I stopped running but I continued to watch what I eat so I wouldn’t gain back the weight.
Fast forward a lot of months later, I’m now going to the gym at least 5 times a week and I also use the Nike Training Club (NTC) app. And now exercise for me is more than weight loss. It’s for my health. This is the only body I have and I might as well keep it in the best shape possible. And with the big 3-0 fast approaching, I want to be in the best shape possible! Especially now that I’ve learnt that you can create the body that you want through exercise and proper nutrition.
What inspired this post was actually tips for gym – stuff that I’ve picked up and wish I knew before I started. I am by no means a gym expert. I’m just someone with fitness goals who is trying to stay in shape. So here are my 10 gymbie (gym newbie) tips:
- Get a gym buddy. Someone whose opinion you respect and who you can be accountable to. They don’t even need to be in the same country as you. They just need to know that they have to check in and help you get up on some mornings.
- Gym instructors are your friends. If you are struggling with a move or feeling pain, let them know. They can help you. It’s not only personal trainers that can be approached.
- Push yourself. Your mind limits how far you can go. Start with your 1kg weights but push yourself and go for the 2, 3, 4 kg in approaching weeks. You are stronger than you think!
- During class, focus on yourself and the trainer. There will be fitter people than you in class. There will be show offs in class and there will be lazy people. Focus on getting your techniques right and look at yourself in those mirrors. It’s about your progress!
- Don’t walk out of class. I’ve seen people doing this a lot halfway through the class. But by then, the hardest bit is
almostover. If the instructor is doing 15 burpees and you can only manage 3, do your 3 and condition your mind that next week you will aim for 5 and the week after that for 7 etc. Don’t give up!
- Remember, it’s just energy and energy is never destroyed. It is only transferred from one state to another. You’ll feel tired at the end of a session but the next day you will have enough energy to do it all again and again and again…
- Don’t overdo it. I go to the gym between 4 to 6 times a week. Some weeks are busier for me than others so if I’m functioning on 3 hours of sleep, I tend to skip gym because my body is exhausted and I don’t beat myself up about it. The idea is to continuously exercise for the rest of my life and I don’t want to burn out at the beginning of the journey.
- A good pair of trainers is important! And it doesn’t have to be a fancy brand! When I’m running I need a fairly flat soled trainer. This is the most comfortable for my feet but when I’m in the gym, I need something with a bit more sole. Your feet will tell you what kind of trainers are best for what. If I use my gym shoes for running, my feet hurt and I get blisters. If I use my running shoes for gym, I also develop blisters and sore feet. So listen to your feet and invest in the right type of footwear.
- If you sweat a lot, wear dark coloured gym clothes – black, charcoal etc.. These hide the sweat patches and you won’t have to walk around looking like you peed on yourself.
- If you are exercising to lose weight, nutrition plays a huge role. You have to watch what you are eating and make good decisions. It’s a lot of trial and error but find a plan that works for you. And the rules are generally the same, lots of veggies and lots of water will go a long way!
I hope my tips will help out someone along the way.