If you had told me three years ago that I would ever
be an avid gym goer, I probably would have laughed in your face. Three years later, I’m trying to motivate my friends and family to get into the gym with me. So how did my change arise? Growing up I always enjoyed exercise and I wasn’t half bad at it either. However, when those A-Levels decided to take control of my life, I subconsciously gave up on my fitness.
In my first year of university, on a daily basis I had to walk up a hill to get to lectures (a hill that felt like more like a mountain if you had asked me at that point). I don’t remember the exact moment that it dawned on me, but I do remember thinking ,’Olivia if you had been asked to walk up this hill four years ago you probably would have capable of jogging up it, you most certainly would not have been out of breath after walking up it!’. My fitness level had massively decreased and upon realising, I decided I was not prepared to stay in this comfort zone. It was time for a change, it was time for growth.
So I made a change! I remember going home one day and talking to my flatmate about actually using the free university gym memberships we’d been lying on. But of course, I proposed classes, not the main gym, the main gym was far too daunting for the two of us at that time. So we booked our fitness class. I remember that day wanting to die and being rather embarrassed that I was actually struggling (‘Olivia you never used to struggle’). However, we all have humble beginnings and that was mine. From these humble beginnings, I moved from classes, to having no clue how to use any machine in the gym, to understanding breathing and form and feeling confident in the gym.
So what do I want you to take from my experience?
1) Self-belief: The mind is a powerful thing, the body obeys the mind. Your dream body begins in your mind. Literally sit down and write yourself goals. ‘By the end of 2017 I want my body to look like this … and I am going to do A, B and C in order to achieve it.’ (We like SMART, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based targets at diaryofamaverick).
When I’m working out I constantly talk to myself (not aloud if I’m in a public setting), but I think things like ‘Come on Olivia, just ten more’, ‘You did this yesterday, you can do this and more today’, ‘Guuurl, you got this.’ I try to believe that I can achieve anything I put my mind to, a mindset I try to apply to all aspects of my life.
‘Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.’ -Ghandi
2) Why are you trying to achieve that body? Doing this for yourself needs to be your primary motivator. Just remember that yes, a better body builds confidence, however confidence begins from within. And if you currently look in the mirror and don’t see something beautiful and worthy, that’s a problem from within. You need to work on how you perceive yourself. You can have the most toned/ skinny/ strongest body ever and still perceive yourself in a negative way! You need to Love Yourself. Cliché yes, but beauty begins within.
‘The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.’ -Audrey Hepburn
3) Dedication: You need to be dedicated. ‘But Olivia, I have zero motivation, how can I become dedicated to my fitness goals?’ Think about the reasons you want to achieve your goals, list them! For me, it was simply not being able to walk up a hill without feeling out of breath, I wanted to be healthier, look better and achieve what I thought unachievable.
4) Consistency is the key to success: If you work out once or twice a month, just when I feel like it, sadly your body is not really going to change. We have to be consistent in order to reach our goals. I encourage you to set yourself the minimal number of days per week you want to go for that run or hit the gym or go to that class. In order to achieve our targets we need to be consistent both in the gym and in our diets. Having someone you’re accountable to in both of these can really help. For example having a gym buddy means that when you’re not feeling it, there’s someone to encourage you to get into the gym, if not you’ll feel like you’re letting them down. One of my friends and her sister send each other photos of their meals in order to stay accountable (I could probably do with this sort of accountability lol).
5) Dont deprive yourself! I imagine there’s some people out there wondering how I reached my goals, because I’m not the sort of fitness girl who deprives herself. If I want the cake I will the cake (I hope ya’ll realise now why I had to cut down on my baking). My motto is moderation in everything. However how stringent you want to be with you eating will depend upon how disciplined you can be and how fast you want to achieve that dream body. For example, if your goal is to have that dream body within the next two months, you may have to very stringent with your eating and try to be hitting the gym 4-5 times a week. A lot of gym gurus probably follow the 80/20 rule (eat clean 80% of the time and not as clean 20% of the time). Why? Because it’s achievable, still allows you to have fun with your favourite foods and therefore helps you to be consistent in you diet regimen.
6) Diets: As I just said I don’t like to deprive myself of cake, let alone ‘real’ foods. Dieting can work for some people, I’ve realised that it does not work for me. If I try to cut calories this way, I’m become moody, my iron levels decrease, I’m less energetic for the gym so my workouts are less productive and I end up burning fewer calories. So I prefer to eat 80/20 and put the work in at the gym! But I must highlight that the right diet can fast track you to that dream body.
7) Comparison: I urge you to remember that your body may never look like Barbies’ or Ken’s. Be realistic about your dream body. Remember your body shape is down to your genes, so we all have certain limitations regarding our dream body and it’s important to not get caught up chasing the unachievable or unattainable, because we’ll never be happy. (Females please put the waist trainers down, men maybe eat some real protein and it’s not every day pills/ shakes).
‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ -Theodore Roosevelt
8) Research and learn: Do your own research, don’t just copy the dude in the red shorts deadlifting 100kg next to you in the gym. As I said we all have different bodies and to get to our realistic dream bodies we may have to train our bodies differently. For example, my current aim is to tone my muscles and therefore I have cut down on cardio and target specific muscle groups with weights. Also, research nutrition, read the labels of the foods that you are putting in your mouths, think about what you’re eating and what effect those foods are having on your body.
9) Enjoyment: Please enjoy your journey. I know it’s hard because we live in a society that has conditioned us to expecting instant results with minimal work, we’re always looking for the shortcuts these days. So we are constantly looking towards the next best thing. Please just enjoy this season that you are in, enjoy working for that body and if you do you will enjoy the results even more. Be patient with your body, be kind to yourself. You’ll get there!
‘Nowadays society is teaching us to be impatient, why wait for anything when you can have it now? You no longer have to go to the gym just take supplements or buy some padded pants… We need to understand that there is a time for everything and sometimes it’s just not our season. Be patient and work hard.’ -Diary of a Maverick
10) Track progress: I know how it feels when you’re working hard for that body, but seemingly making no progress. Trust the process! If you look at yourself every day in the mirror, you’re probably not going to notice a difference so tracking is a good idea. Track your progress by taking pictures and measuring your weight (but remember muscle mass weighs more than fat, so if you want definition, brace yourself because you may put on weight).
I was working out in the studio of my gym a few weeks ago, when the girl working out next to me was squatting with a fairly light weight. She then decided she had finished with this portion of her workout. However, before she put her weights back, she lifted up her top and turned to the side, so she could get a good look at the booty gains she had just developed over the past 15 minutes. Now obviously, I have no idea what her motives actually were, but it made me laugh. Anyway, my point is simply, don’t expect results overnight! It’s going to take time to see those gains, so just trust the process and track your progress.
I hope this helps you achieve your fitness New Years Resolutions. There will be more fitness posts to come. Thank you for sharing my last post and for the comments and messages of encouragement. I really appreciate it. X