Happy Monday! Monday is the day I’m proclaiming will be my weekly posting day. I tried this last year when I was posting two times a week and it didn’t quite work out – but I’m hoping this time I can stick to it (not even hoping – I will!)
As we’re still early-ish into January, 2019 outlook posts (in my opinion) are still totally suitable. So, I thought this time I would focus on where I’m at health & fitness wise at the moment, what the plan is for 2019, and also answer some Q&As that I asked for via Instagram stories!
Unless this is your first time here, you’d know that I got my ass together to focus on my health & fitness back in July 2017. At the end of 2017/beginning of 2018 I turned things up a notch – I was in the gym weightlifting and/or HIIT-ing 5x a week, I downloaded MyFitnessPal for a period of time to get my nutrition (a little bit) in check, and honestly, I just started to really enjoy the process over the course of those 52 weeks.
Where I’m at and where I’m trying to go, a quick breakdown:
- I’m still training 5x a week:
At the moment I am super into my training. I definitely go through cycles where I’m just getting on with it and then cycles where I’m absolutely loving it – right now I’m experiencing the latter. This is to the point where going to the gym 5x a week is really me being disciplined and understanding that my body needs rest, as I could definitely push it more if I wanted to.
- I’m really into training lower body at the moment:
I declare 2019 – . Yep. Last year, towards the end of the year, I introduced the hip abductor machine into my workouts at least once a week every week and I noticed results so quickly that it actually took me aback. Now, my gym has recently adjusted their set up such that there are 4 squat racks instead of just 2, which means that there is way more of an opportunity to introduce heavy hip thrusts into my workouts which I know will make a huge difference. These days I’m hitting legs/glutes every other day.
- I’m doing less cardio:
This may seem as though I’m going in the opposite direction, but hear me out. I used to start all my workouts with some cardio and for most of last year I was doing 2x days of HIIT a week. Now I do 1x HIIT day (a whole 30 minutes + of circuits on the treadmill), and I’ve substituted the other day for a full body workout instead. I did HIIT mostly as a means of cutting fat, but at the place I’ve now reached, I just want to focus more on toning up and building muscle. Weirdly, even with this reduced cardio my resting bpm/heart health has been improving (according to Fitbit), so maybe cardio itself is a conspiracy… who knows? (I joke)
- I’ll probably do one or more of the following pretty soon:
i) a fitness guide; ii) upgrade my gym (Pure) to something a little bit more boujee (I wanna spa on the weekend… ya know?); iii) get a PT; iv) get a fitness app; v) get a nutritionist. Let’s see.
Can you see my “concentration face”?
I’ve just started at the gym and I’m feeling quite intimidated – what should I do?
I’ve realised that January is a pretty intimidating time for new gym goers as the gyms are absolutely packed. Which ironically is one reason things should be even less intimidating – most people are starting on their day 1 (I’ve told many people in these last 2 weeks where to find the changing rooms). When you’re first getting started I would recommend going with a friend if possible, and I would 100% recommend following a guide or a tutorial (there’s tons of them on Instagram). The former gives you more confidence, the latter ensures the feeling of “what do I do now…?” doesn’t send you back home again. With time comes practice comes confidence!
How do you log how many calories you’ve burned in a workout?
I use my handy Fitbit! I would recommend. I previously has a boujee Swarovski watch (it was the my first ever “pay day gift”), and it took a while for me to decide I cared more about my (not so pretty) Fitbit – but honestly I’d rather know how many steps I’ve taken and what my resting bpm is that “stunt on bichiz”. I wear my “cuter” watches if I’m on a night out or somewhere formal.
How much has diet come into play in your journey?
Diet is so important! When I first started – I was noticing minor changes – but I was still incredibly unhealthy to the point where, at an annual full health checkup – my body fat percentage came back in the category of obese. That’s why I initially downloaded MyFitnessPal – and unless you have had issues surrounding food and eating in the past – I would also recommend trying out tracking if even just for a small amount of time (I don’t really track these days – unless sporadically). I recommend tracking for a bit because the truth is – most of us really don’t realise what’s in our foods. For example something a small and simple as a croissant is packed with fats and sugars. I once knew someone who said they had “given up carbs”, and I would see them drinking fizzy drinks every day – they were surprised to learn that one tiny, unfilling can is packed with tons of carbs in the form of sugars. Once I download the MFP app, I realised that I had to make a many changes to my diet: I was drinking too many sugary drinks, eating too many saturated fat, and completely lacking in any sort of vegetables. My diet was far from balanced to say the very least. Changing these points were some of the main major changes I made that impacted not only how I looked – but also how I felt.
Do you take any supplements?
I’ve actually never been much of a supplement taker – and that’s just for the pure reason that I really do not like the taste of most powders. When it comes to taking the little capsules/pills, I know some people take every “-tamine” under the sun; but I’ve just, at least so far, never felt it was necessary to load my body with all these random capsules when I’m not even sure about what they do. This all said, at the moment I’m trying to up my protein intake (so drinking shakes a few times a week), and I’ve also been using a “mild” pre-workout before most of my workouts (it seriously wakes me up). I’ve taken BCAAs in the past but not currently. Do multivitamins count?…
Where do you shop for your workout gear?
Gymshark and My Protein are my favourites and the two that I always recommend. I used to think spending anything over £10 on gym/workout clothes was a total waste but there definitely is a difference in quality. Plus, I’m at the gym so often, why not feel my best when I’m there with some lit gym clothes? If you want to splash – Lululemon is a go-to for many. A few others I’ve heard are good (but have yet to try) include: Alphalete, Do You Even and Flexxfit (I have one pair of leggings from these guys).
How do you stay motivated?
I think a lot of it is self discipline. A good example is, in this week just passed, we were quite busy meaning that a lot of days I wasn’t leaving the office until at least 8:30-9:00pm and that was after getting in before 8:00am and spending the day reacting to whatever was thrown our way (I can tell you it was the most unpredictable/interesting week of my career so far). A few times I left the office and told myself I really didn’t feel like going to the gym – but that I would just push through 30 minutes at least. Once I start, I get into the swing of things, and 1 hour passes once I blink my eyes – and this is always the case when I push myself to do half an hour. Of course if you’re 100% not feeling it – then maybe don’t force it. But if this is your excuse everyday – self discipline is what you need to implement, it’s the key to a lot of things.
How long does it take to notice changes?
I noticed changes (in the form of weight loss) pretty quickly (I think when you first started working out, it shocks your body, and the “newbie gains” are really fast). That said, noticing the “shape” of my body change and essentially building some muscle took a long time. I would even feel embarrassed at times last year thinking about how much I was training vs. what I looked like (moments of insecurity – don’t be like me). Anyhow, I truly just started to embrace the journey. I enjoy working out – it’s a seriously effective way for me to clear my mind and get into the right headspace, so it’s something that I want to do even if the results are not immediately obvious. After time, you’ll look back at an old photo and suddenly realise – “damn… things have changed“. Patience is a virtue (something I still need to tell myself sometimes!)
And with that – I hope this was helpful to anyone diving into fitness for the first time! January is the month for that (there are literally tons of new faces in my gym at the moment and I love it – except for when all the machines are taken then maybe not so much), but what tends to happen is that after a month or so, most people drop out (they return around the summertime). The longer you push through something, and the more sustainable the changes are (I preach a healthy lifestyle – no fad diets or short term thinking – as many of you know), the more it becomes a part of you and just a habit if not anything else!