I am never going to lie to you guys and say that I am a complete gym nerd and I exercise every day, or even that I enjoy it. I joined the gym a few years ago when I decided that it was just getting ridiculous with how little I actually did, and have enjoyed going ever since. I do actually really enjoy exercising and I feel so much better in myself when I have been. Obviously, when I had my surgery, I wasn’t moving at all let alone going to the gym and couldn’t go back until three months’ post-surgery. Going back was really scary, as I had completely lost my confidence and was so unsure about what my body could actually handle. I didn’t really feel like using a personal trainer as I wanted to do it gradually and at my own pace, so tried to get back into it mentally before pushing my body.
Getting back to the gym was a big challenge mentally, in fact probably more so than physically. I completely lost my confidence and suddenly felt so overwhelmed with the thought of exercise.
A big thing I discovered when trying to get back to exercise was how much my body had lost its strength. I have never been someone who would do heavy weights in the gym, well to be honest most of the time I didn’t go near them at all. However, with being fit and probably from working in a café, I naturally was very strong. Whether it be from the lack of exercise or just general lack of movement, I seriously lost it all and very much have lost ay fitness level which I had before. This is naturally making getting back into exercise that little bit harder, as the lack of go from my body is very much demotivating. This is something I am trying to overcome, which is the main reason why I wanted to share this post. It is a part of my life that is very big right now and I wanted to take my readers on this small journey with me.
The gym can be a pretty daunting and intimidating place – regardless of the fact that no one else cares what you are actually doing, the atmosphere and the mood of the surroundings will never take that away. When, like me, you are at a point where you don’t feel comfortable in yourself or your fitness levels, this feeling of intimidation can be heightened when you are trying to workout in the gym. I think this is a big factor as to why I haven’t been very motivated to get there. There isn’t really anything you can do about this, however I do think it is possible to change your feelings towards being in the environment. I have found the easiest way to get back into it when feeling like this is by choosing really carefully when you go. For example, I choose to go late in the evening at about eight, or during the day when most people are at work. Obviously if you work a 9 to 5 you can’t do that in the week, so late evenings would have to be an option. If you have to go at peak times, the best thing to do is pop your headphones in, play your favourite playlist and do your best to stay in your own little bubble.
Food & Diet
A big part of feeling better and making exercise easier, is to get the balance right with what you are eating and how much you are moving. Getting back into exercise is much easier if you are fuelling your body in the correct way and you aren’t eating foods that make you feel bloated or heavy. This includes lots of protein, fruit and vegetables as well as brown rice and pasta. I have got much better recently at preparing my meals and making sure I am eating the correct foods, which gradually I know is helping me with my exercise regime. It isn’t about completely stopping eating all the foods you enjoy, as life is about balance, but it is about making small changes that have a very positive effect on your body.
If the gym isn’t something you are a fan of, there are many other ways to become active without having to enter that environment. By simply going for a walk, light jog or even a run this is getting your body moving and also taking in some good fresh air. I am not a fan of running, never have been, never will be, but a walk I can handle. The alternative is going for a swim. Swimming is one of the best exercises we can do as we are moving our whole bodies, and particularly for me, it is building up natural strength. My pool is in the gym, however there are so many pools you can used that aren’t and usually you can simply pay as you go. My grandma and I have made a pact recently to go swimming two or three times a week together. For her it is to get healthier and for me it is to really get my fitness level up and build up my strength.
There are also loads of classes you can do, such as yoga and pilates, which will increase fitness levels and are things you really can get away with doing just one or two times a week. These kind of classes are good not just physically, but also mentally.
When it comes to being fit and getting healthier, in life there are so many changes you can make which are really small and don’t have much of an effect on your life. For example, parking a little bit further away in the supermarket, walking to the local shop or simply using the stairs as opposed to a lift. It isn’t just about the physical changes, but also the changes you can make mentally as well as with your diet. Mentally I have changed a lot in terms of fitness, I am more open to trying healthy alternatives as well as just eating less throughout the day.
Motivation is the key to getting back to exercise, and I can vouch for anyone who says this is the hardest obstacle to overcome. The effects of my surgery have left me feeling so exhausted all the time, therefore not being too good for my motivational levels. I am not quite sure what the exact answer is to overcome this, although what I have learnt from the past is that usually it is all about breaking down the wall in the first two weeks and it instantly becomes so much easier. Trust me, those two weeks will be incredibly tough, but they are the key to your success in terms of getting fitter. It is all about powering through and simply trying your best to break down the barrier.