I wasn’t really into fitness before lockdown. When I say ‘into fitness’, I mean that I’m just more conscious and active about fitness, not that I’m the next fitness guru on the scene. What I have noticed though is that lockdown has changed me for the better, primarily in my fitness. I’m probably the most physically fit I’ve been and the most confident in my skin than ever before, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this period of time (in this regard anyways). I guess you could call this post my ‘fitness journey’ up to now.
As a short background, my first divulgence into exercise ever was probably dancing, which I did until the age of 6 when I suddenly decided to take on a martial art, because I wanted to be like those people in the movies who flipped about everywhere and fought all the bad guys away. I took on karate from the age of 6 to 17 (one of the experiences that truly shaped me as a person and I’m so grateful for) but since then, really haven’t taken on anything serious apart from a few Latin and contemporary dance classes at university and a few attempts at being a gym buff (which subsided after about two months). Although I done karate for a big part of my life, I wouldn’t say I was anywhere near the top of the class when it came to fitness. I was unfit for the level I was at and continued to be unfit after that. I hated running and didn’t really know my way around fitness apart from a few videos I watched on Instagram.
Little did I know how useful videos would become in my journey.
I started watching Youtube and Instagram fitness videos at the beginning of last year in an attempt to try and get fit, so I sort of knew my way around different exercises at this point. I then took on the Couch to 5K app to try and force myself to run (the start of my ‘gym buff’ period last year). I actually made it quite far but I ended up putting too much pressure on myself when I didn’t do it and gave up on myself (the app is amazing though, so I would definitely give it a go if anyone wants to get into running!)
Skip to February of this year, just as the world is toppling into the pandemic, where I decided to take some progress photos and start using Youtube workout videos. I was now starting to have time, come March, where there was literally nothing to do and I would implement a 15 minute workout video into my day, complete with warm ups and cool downs. I would put down a little yoga mat in my living room, pop on a home workout and that’s how I started.
Looking back, I think the key thing that I did differently was not to put pressure on myself to do something every day. In fact, I don’t even know how many days a week I worked out when I started! I just started doing it (the hardest part) and suddenly, I found myself working out around 5-6 days a week or even every day some weeks! I was starting to enjoy taking on a new challenge and gave myself rest breaks when I needed to – I didn’t punish myself for working out twice a week instead, but realised the negative impact it had on my mindset when I did, as I was happier and healthier when working out more. The easiest part of this all was knowing it was only 15-20 minutes a day and that’s it. There’s almost always 15 minutes in someone’s day, even if you don’t think so!
What I found is that watching these workout videos taught me a lot, especially the ones I watched over lockdown. They taught me how to do certain movements properly without hurting myself, the benefits of warming up and cooling down so your muscles don’t ache the next day and you can go do it all over again, how working out changes your mindset and how you need to keep moving and eat well during the day in order for it all to pay off. These are by far the best lessons I’ve learnt since becoming fit(-ter, as I’m not as fit as I would like to be yet), and learning these things and putting them into action is perhaps what has made me so motivated to move each day.
Where am I at now? I’m at a place where I’m working out anywhere between 15-45 minutes a day doing anything from HIIT workouts to yoga (and sometimes even running! I completed my first 5k in May, which was combined with some walking, and have reached personal bests in my 3k stretches). Workouts look different for everyone, and watching someone go through the movements with me in a follow-along home workout works for me – it’s about finding what works for you and trying everything. I’ve become more confident in myself and feel better mentally when I’ve worked out.
I went on a trip to Brighton back in August, and I had got to a place where I was the most happy with my body I had ever been. It was exactly how I wanted it to be and I didn’t even realise it till I was there. Since then, my body has changed and I realised that I’d been indulging a bit more than usual and it’s not the same as it was, but guess what? I’m okay with it. And that’s the beauty of what working out has done for me. I’m still happy with my body and I know what I need to do in order to get myself back to where I was, but I’m not beating myself up about it (which I may of in the past).
I am confident. I am strong. I am more knowledgeable about fitness as a whole. I can move my body in ways I couldn’t before. I can run further than I could before. I am fitter. My mind is clearer. But most importantly, I am happy.
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