Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography
Today I wanted to share a short and snappy blog post all about working out and attempting to get into a healthy gym routine. I am by no means in a position to educate nor specifically advice on the subject, as I myself need a lot of motivation to get my bum to the gym, and I have no qualifications whatsoever when it comes to what to do. Since my surgery at the end of 2017, it has been a long battle for me to get into a healthy gym routine, seeing it more as a lifestyle rather than a diet. I have worked hard with a PT to widen the variety of exercise I choose to do day to day, as well as focusing a lot more on what I eat and choose to put into my body. Obviously, anything I recommend or have an opinion on here is solely based on what is currently working for me, bearing in mind the level I am at which is still very low.
Instead of simply listing the things that I am currently doing, which I have done before so I will link it here, I thought I would simply discuss some of the obstacles I have to overcome to encourage myself to stick to such a routine and keep me motivated. I honestly am queen of excuses and will come up with absolutely anything to get me out of a workout, or an excuse to eat something naughty. Thankfully, this is something that I am getting much better at, however by no means have I yet overcome this. The first stereotype that I still find really hard is other people in the gym. The environment on the whole is incredibly intimidating, which I think is something a lot of us find whatever our level. The atmosphere tends to be (at least in my gym), very male heavy. As much as it pains me to admit it, I do get embarrassed if I look a state, so the gym is the last place that I want to be with loads of men around. I mean, I have a boyfriend, but you all will get what I’m saying. Lucy, my PT, has been really helping me attempt to overcome this intimidation, getting straight to the point. In reality, is anyone actually looking at you? During one of our workouts, I mentioned this to Lucy, who has heard it many times before, and she simply put, ‘but no one is actually looking’, which is more than correct. If you actually stop what you’re doing and observe the space around you, you quickly realise how everyone is so focused on what they are doing that they couldn’t care less about you. It is something in our minds that tells us it is happening when it really isn’t. Put your headphones in, increase the volume and use it as an opportunity to zone out.
Secondly, the stereotype that I find I have had to really overcome is ‘doing weights will make me look like a man’. Before my surgery, and ever training with a PT, I only ever did boring cardio-based workouts which I just repeated over and over again. In theory I was quite small, however I had absolutely no strength to me at all and I was by no means toned. I had this stubborn illusion in my head that told me that by completing weight workouts it would dramatically increase my muscles and I would look masculine. Obviously, after one session with Lucy, this idea was officially crushed forever. Unless taking some sort of drugs, women physically do not have enough testosterone to grow that much muscle, therefore weight training is only ever going to give you that toned finish that we all crave. I may want to get a lot smaller, back to how I was a few years ago, however I also want to be strong, healthy and smoother.
Another stereotype that I have come across, mainly because of my not so perfect heart, is that exercise can be deemed bad for you if you have a medical problem. Obviously, this is generally dependant on the condition, however most heart conditions can actually be made better with exercise. The heart is a muscle that wants to be used, and in my case, I can hand on heart (pun intended) say that when I exercise, I feel so much better. I feel fitter, more energised and generally a much happier and positive person. In my opinion, I think unless instructed not to exercise by a medical professional, we should all be finding ways to be a lot more active on an everyday basis.
Finally, the last stereotype I really can’t stand is ‘you have to be either all or nothing’. I have met so many people who are adamant they simply don’t have the time to exercise. I can definitely relate to this, when I have a very busy work week I struggle too to get to the gym, however this doesn’t mean that it is impossible. I have had to find ways to make it work around my life, holding myself and only myself accountable for me not getting it done. If I have a day working I will get up earlier and do a home workout, if I am struggling I will go for a half an hour walk on my lunch break to get moving, and if I am stressed I will get myself to the gym for a swim in the evening to relax and burn some calories. You don’t have to commit your whole life to a strict exercise programme, it is about committing the little time you have and making each workout work for you, around your other commitments, even if it is only 20 minutes.
What exercise and gym stereotypes make you laugh?
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