By: Shawn Jang (NASM-CPT, NASM-CES, NASM-FNS, NASM-WLS)
When I started my fitness journey 8 years ago, I had no clue where to start. I had one goal in mind at the time, which was to gain weight. I didn’t care if I gained fat or muscle. The only way I knew how to achieve my goal was to eat and work out as much as I could. The results were terrifying, but they were results nonetheless. With that being said, I would like to share 5 things I wish I knew before starting my fitness journey in hopes of helping those who are thinking about starting their fitness journey or have just begun to do so.
1. Find exercises or activities that you enjoy doing (relatively).
Try to find physical activities that you enjoy doing, whether that is strength training, soccer, cycling, or jogging. Doing so will help you stick to it in the long run and help you achieve your fitness goals in a fun manner. There may be some exercises that you don’t enjoy doing but have to in order to achieve your goals. That is completely normal and it is unrealistic to think you must enjoy all activities you do every time. Keep that in mind and push through those as hard you can. Your body will thank you later.
2. Celebrate progress, no matter how small.
Don’t be too hard on yourself when navigating your fitness journey. Each body is different and the time it takes to achieve your ultimate goal varies greatly from person to person. Be sure to always celebrate any progress you have made, whether that is seeing the scale move or feeling that your shirt fits slightly looser. It’s okay to reward yourself for your hard work every now and then. Fitness should be fun, so be proud of any achievements, big or small, you have made toward your goals.
3. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout.
It may seem like the end of the world if you miss a workout. I know I used to have that same mentality. You’re afraid all your progress will be lost if you miss one workout or cycle class. That is simply not true. Life can throw many curveballs and things can come up that prevent you from sticking to your workout schedule 100% of the time. Try to remember that that is normal and completely fine. I promise you that all your hard work will not go to waste.
4. Focus on your own goals, not someone else’s.
When you’re trying to achieve a fitness goal, don’t compare yourself to those around you. It is very tempting to do that, which can cause you to lose sight of your own goals. The people you see working out at the gym or in your yoga class and the people you see on Instagram all have different goals. You don’t know where they started nor what their current goals are, so try your best to focus on yourself and the goals that you have set.
5. If you’re not seeing results, change something.
Regardless of whether your goal is to gain weight, lose weight, build muscle, decrease inches around your waist, have more energy throughout the day, or feel better in your clothes, if you are not seeing progress, change something that you are currently doing. Change your diet, change your workout routine, or change the way you are doing your exercises. If you don’t know what to change, seek help from different resources or hire a personal trainer. It doesn’t make sense to keep on doing the same thing if you are not seeing results. Always keep your body guessing.
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