‘Sup folks! Hope you all had a great Christmas. I’m not going to lie – I wasn’t in much of a Christmassy spirit until Christmas actually hit. It felt more like a event I had to mark down in my diary vs. the absolute sheer gut crunching excitement I’d experience when I was a child (I literally couldn’t breath knowing I’d be receiving yet another doll – do kids still play with dolls? Or has the digital age taken over?) That said, it was a great day with family – lots of eating, lots of card games, lots of good times and good memories. Grateful. Anyhow – for the past two years I’ve started my own little traditional over here on Skylish. A little rewind of the year just passed which ends in a total yearly wrap up – so today I’m kicking things up with a rewind of my year in fitness.
My year in Fitness
Fitness. If you had told me even at the start of 2017 that I’d be working out 5 days a week, constantly seeking to find out more about nutrition and have a genuine interest in fitness and health, I would have laughed in your face. Sometimes I can’t believe that this has transformed into an actual passion of mine and honestly, I’m super proud of myself to have been able to find the value in it and to make it a staple part of my lifestyle. Not to say that I jump out of bed everyday wanting to run to the gym – but I do really enjoy working out (or better yet – weight lifting), and I enjoy learning more about nutrition and making healthy (but “I can’t come and kill myself”) tweaks to my diet. I know, crazy eh.
In the summer of last year, I eased myself into fitness with resistance band and dumbbell based home workouts – for around 30 minutes each morning before work, I’d do a short workout and then keep it moving. When I first started out, I found these seriously challenging and actually experienced killer DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) after every workout, I remember the first time I even did a simple lunge and felt like my legs were torn apart in the days following. As time went on, my body got used to the workouts, and I wanted a bigger challenge. So, this time last year, I pushed myself to go to the gym and to the weights section (despite being totally terrified to do so). It was this time last year that the gym became a regular thing – and as you can imagine, it’s had a lot of physical and also mental benefits for me (it’s the best stress reliever – which is perfect when you work a high intensity job).
Where I’m at right now
This year I…
- Started the year off by doing Hannah Oeberg’s 4 week, full body FitOeberg guide. It was my first time (and actually, only time) doing any sort of full body guide. Guides are definitely something great for beginners as they provide a clear direction, especially if you are totally lost in the gym. That said, I’ve sort of done my own thing since then (no guides, no PT), and most of my workouts are some that I’ve taken from my favourite Instagram fitness influencers.
- Finally added the “health” to the “health and fitness” equation. I learned that carbs won’t kill me, balance is important, and that there was a reason for the introduction of the sugar tax. I continue to switch up how I’m eating often (e.g. recently – I know pretty late – but I started to focus on including a lot more vegetables into my diet), and honestly it’s a constant cycle of learning and tweaking when it comes to what I eat. I’ve even considered hiring a short term nutritionist.
- Dropped my body fat % by >10% (woop!) I’ve also found that weight lifting has somewhat reshaped my body (in a good way) – through growing my lower body (glutes, hams and quads), and toning my upper body (back and shoulders mainly). This is something I never got with just cardio and I find it weird to look at photos these days where my quads and hamstrings were actually near nonexistent in the past.
- Seriously increased my fitness and strength. Honestly, this time last year squatting 20-30kg was a killer, now I’m squatting 70-75kg on my heaviest days! Similarly, I started the year deadlifting 35kg – now that’s upped to 80kg at my max! I’ve also seriously increased the speed of my sprints. If I ever find myself carrying heavy bags (which is a frequent occurrence given I travel a lot), I secretly thank myself for weight lifting lol. Similarly, I find myself running to a lot of places on account of the fact that I’m always late – again, I give secret props to the gym during these moments.
- I’m training 5x a week split: 2x lower body (one of these days more glute focused); 1x upper body (back, shoulders and occasionally chest); 2x full body (sometimes plyo, sometimes HIIT based treadmill workouts and sometimes full body weight lifting workouts), I typically end these sessions with some ab exercises. I’m pretty satisfied with this split at the moment
- Still trying to figure out this nutrition thing: Sometimes I track calories/macros – most of the time I don’t. Sometimes I’m really off of red meats (I try to be), occasionally I find myself eating them often (but just in lean form). I’m considering going vegetarian during the month of January for health purposes and seeing how that goes – will keep you updated if I succeed at this…!
- Likely to try out another guide (or app) early next year! (Need a change/a challenge!)
I post on Instagram quite frequently what I’m up to on the health & fitness front which means that I often get a lot of questions around it (including in my day to day life by friends and fam), below are a few of my most frequently asked health & fitness question in recent months.
I think my motivation for fitness comes from finding something I enjoy – which is weight lifting. When I was going to the gym and rotating between 10 minutes of the treadmill, cross trainer and rowing machine, I would dread working out so much that it had the power to make me feel physically sick. Now that I’ve found something that works for me – even when I’m not up for a workout I will tell myself to go for at least half an hour, and I end up getting so into it (usually) that I overshoot this half hour target. So in this regard – my biggest tip is to just find what works for you. Weight lifting and huge glutes are not by force – maybe spin classes are your thing, or maybe you really do love cardio – shop around, find what suits and stick to it. Over the long run – not brushing off fitness will be so much better for your health.
Girls generally tend to be afraid of weight lifting over the fear that picking up a weight will turn them into a juice head man that grunts and slams plates in the weights area (I’m sure a lot of you know what I mean!) Putting on muscle is really not that easy, and if what you want to do is tone and not look “bulky”, 2kg dumbbells are not going to cut it. If you ever find that anything is looking maybe too “toned” for your liking, you can also readjust your routines (e.g. my arms tone very, very easily, so I don’t actually ever train biceps or triceps as I get enough of that pump on back and shoulder days and I know that if I was to – for e.g. – do dumbbell bicep curls every week, I wouldn’t like the results. But that’s just my body personally).
I’ve actually found the gym community to be one of the most supportive and least judgmental communities. Mainly due to the fact that 1) we’re all there to better ourselves and 2) everybody starts somewhere… Perhaps you see someone seriously in shape at the gym at a level you aspire to reach, but you have to remember that they once also had their day 1. You’ll likely find the community to be really encouraging and you’ll also probably find that nobody is too bothered about what you’re up to anyway!
This year I’ve reduced my sugar intake (I’m more of a water drinker these days), sliced red meats and learned the importance of balance. For e.g. most of my meals include some protein source, some carbs, and some sort of vegetables. I’m not a believer in casting an entire food group as evil – I just think everything in moderation is what matters (isn’t that what we’re taught as kids… balanced dieting?) Because my diet is balanced, I don’t find it a struggle to stick to it because I’m eating foods that I enjoy (vs. killing myself with everyday salads… no thanks). Sure, eating KFC and burgers everyday would be nice also – but it’s just not plausible. So experiment in the kitchen, find healthy foods you like (it’s possible), and don’t forget to treat yourself from time to time. Don’t be too restrictive. If you’d like me to do a post of what I typically eat daily – please do let me know and I’ll get one written!
If you want to start your own health & fitness journey, my biggest tips would be to 1) find what works for you in both the fitness & the health department and 2) learn discipline. Discipline is the key to this all. Stop making excuses – just get off your ass and start making the steps to change! See ya’ll for tomorrow’s post! 😉
➣ 2018 Rewind: Fitness
➣ 2018 Rewind: Travel
➣ 2018 Rewind: Looking back at my favourite posts
➣ 2018 Rewind: How did my 2017 resolutions go?
➣ 2018 in Review and 2019 Resolutions