It’s… June. The first half of the year has gone by very quickly and whilst there are a couple of goals I’d still like to hit, I’d say it’s been a decent year (so far) overall. Since it’s June, I have a couple of outstandings over here on the blog. First of all, I’m due a half-year “Life Lately” update. The reason I’ve delayed this a touch is because I’m in a midst of something pretty exciting which, once the dust has settled, I think would be great to include in the Life Lately update; so – bare with me. The other to-do is that I am soon due to write a year update in my health & fitness journey. This may seem unnecessary but I’ve learned so much (and changed so much) in the past year, just by taking the decision that I wanted to overhaul my lifestyle. I’m a blogger and I share – so of course I want to share that too! In the mean time, I put up a story the other day asking for any Health & Fitness related questions to do a little Q&A over here, I’ve also mixed in FAQs that I get asked often in my daily life.
What motivated you to start start focussing on your health and fitness?
What kicked things off was actually pretty simple – I was going to a gala, I wanted to wear my graduation dress, and it didn’t fit anymore. I was upset to say the least, because it had only been a year since I graduated. Whilst that kicked things off – honestly, it was a long time coming. I was just so tragically unhealthy in late 2016 and the early half of 2017. My diet was atrocious and I did near to no physical activity. I lived 15 minutes from work and I’d get public transport every day. That sort of thing honestly takes a toll on you – I was so sluggish and tired all the time, I felt sick after meals often because I’d likely just stuffed my face with 30 grams of fat, and I felt super lazy. My clothes were tight or not fitting anymore, and I got tired of it. I wasn’t necessarily weighing myself every day (or at all, really), or constantly checking myself out in the mirror to see how I looked (I was pretty care free), but I knew that I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I went on living in this same way. I had never really been one to live a healthy “lifestyle”, I’d had periods where I was working out a lot, periods where I was more mindful about what I was eating (usually, however, in an unsustainable way), but never a period where I just sort of wanted to feel better and look (what I felt like) was my best. I remember once leaving the gym a year back, when I would go once every three weeks, and saying to myself “I know one day I’m going to want to take this whole working out thing properly – but that day is not today.” Well, it came at long last in July 2017.
How often do you work out, and what does your workout routine look like?
At the moment I’m working on 5x a week. It seems to be what fits the best into my routine and of course – rest days are always essential. My workout routine actually changes all the time. When I first started I was doing pilates at home 5x a week and 1x day of spin. Then I was doing 5x days of strength based workouts with dumbells and resistance bands at home and 1x day a week I’d go to gym and do cardio. There was a point when I had 3 upper body days a week (I was doing a guide), a period where I considered 3x lower body days (for the peach, ofc) and a period where I wasn’t doing much cardio if at all. Things really just shift based on how I’m feeling and what I want to work on. I introduced HIIT into my routine in January and then more recently picked this up to 2x days of HIIT a week. Even more rcently I’ve decided to focus more on ab workouts rather than doing them here and there. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that my routine switches around all the time based on how I feel. It’s always good to keep things interesting and new!
How long do you think you’ll keep this up for?
Although it’s been almost a year now since I’ve started working out regularly, I always get asked if I’m “still doing it” and “how long I’ll do it” for. I get it… keeping up with a cleaner diet and regular workouts is not easy at all. It takes a whole load of discipline, honestly, and sometimes I even wonder myself if or when I’ll fall off. However, I know even if I happen to fall off for some time (I’m not writing off the fact that this will ever happen), and perhaps I stop going to the gym for a short while for a certain reason, or I have a period where I’m really not being too healthy – I actually know myself and know that I will reverse this again. It’s all about sustainability – when I’m hungry, I eat; if I miss a day at the gym, I don’t sweat it; when I’m on holiday, I enjoy. Like I said, this is a lifestyle change, not a fad, not a quick fix, nothing short term. When you are not doing things for a short term gain, and with a short term view, they honestly are a lot more sustainable. That’s why when people go on these crazy diets, work out only for their upcoming summer holiday or confuse changing thier diet with not eating, it typically doesn’t last. This is sort of the way I like to look at everything in life – you should always try and see the long term picture. For example, maybe you take a pay cut in the first few years of your career because you think you’re going to build something great, and you hit your late 20s or 30s and suddenly, things start to blow up. That’s a long term strategy. If you’re thinking short term, maybe you’ll use all the loopholes and pyramid schemes in the world to make a quick few bux, and get to 10 years down the line and find that it maybe wasn’t the best idea afterall.
How can you possibly enjoy working out?
Honestly, I used to hate working out. But what I can say is that now – I do genuinely believe it’s wired within us to be something that is enjoyable. This is because when we workout our bodies release hormones called “endorphins” and this is essentially a “feel good” drug – if you ever leave the gym feeling absolutely amazing – that’s why. How did I go from absolutely despising the gym to honestly enjoying it? I just found what suits me, and what I enjoy. I enjoy HIIT training, weight training and strength based exercises. What I don’t like is steady state cardio. This is what I used to do all the time and what made me even feel sick and nervous when it was time to work out. Steady state cardio can be a long jog outside, a long run on the treadmill, etc, etc. I really just don’t like that sh*t. If you do – that’s great. Like I said, you have to find what suits you. Maybe that’s pilates, perhaps it’s yoga, who knows – experiment and find out! I think once everyone is able to find what best suits them, it’s inevitable that those endorphins will have you feeling goooood. That’s not to say I jump up with a smile every day excited to work out, hell no, but I definitely don’t dread it like I used to.
How do you even have the energy to go to the gym when you work such long hours?
I think this question is similar to how I blog and work at the same time. I am of the belief that if you want to fit in the time for something, you’ll just find a way. Discipline is really all that matters. Not to say that it’s always easy to find the time (especially with blogging), but it most definitely is possible. For me, I’ve just fit going to the gym into my regular routine. Unless I leave work past 9:30pm (that’s my cut off time), I usually just go to the gym and it’s just become second nature. I used to think that it’d be absolutely impossible to go to the gym on a weekday because of the fact that I work long hours and there was simply no way I was getting to the gym at 6:00am, using the stinky showers and heading straight to work (no thanks), so there really seemed to be no solution. But when I had it in my head that it’s what I wanted to do, I just found a way to make it happen, all it means is that I get home a little later during the week and that I’m generally day by day more tired, but I think it’s worth it.
What do you weigh now and what did you weigh when you started?
I try not focus on the numbers. Not to say that I don’t ever weigh myself – I definitely do, I know my body fat %, muscle mass % and could easily tell you how much these figures have changed over time. And whilst I’m not opposed to sharing I just sort of think if you get too consumed by the numbers you’ll find yourself in the wrong place mentally. Plus the numbers don’t reflect how you feel and often they don’t even reflect how you’ve changed.