I’ve heard it said before that one of the most common habits of successful individuals is that they value their physical health immensely.
So personal fitness is just that: personal. How do you describe fitness? What makes you feel good in your skin?
Above all I love to workout, I get a runner’s high when I go on long runs and seeing results from my workouts I feel so proud of myself. I find new workouts on social media from people I follow and admire and I spend a lot of time reading fitness blogs as well. Some of my favorite fitness inspirations come from Jen Selter, Kayla Itsines, Whitney Simmons, Ana Cheri and Alexis Ren. All of these women have their own routines, body types and extreme dedication to their lifestyle. (I’ve linked their names to their instagram accounts!) Someone else I am inspired by is an old friend from high school, her name is Taylor Amos and she has recently been competing (and killing the game!) in bodybuilding competitions!
It is important to note that while I admire these women and their work ethics for their own personal fitness I am constantly reminding myself that the goal is not to look exactly like them. Depending on genetics and individual habits and a myriad of other factors it is impossible for me to become a replica of them. The goal is to be healthy and happy in my own life and skin!
I plan to start updating the blog with workouts and recipes for mindful eating, but for now here’s where I am at with my fitness goals and habits. As someone who has struggled with body image, mental positivity and binge eating since I was thirteen I am writing about this hesitantly. I’ve never been overweight, or extremely underweight either. I also feel hesitant to write about this topic because I know it can be a sore subject for a lot of individuals. I apologize in advance if any of this brings up bad emotions for anyone reading. This is truly my personal account of a personal fitness relationship with myself. It is difficult to have a positive body image when you see so many types of people with different genetics, builds, availability to workout and lifestyles they uphold. When you work full time and are also managing a blog, making time for friends and family and loving on your corgi pup maintaining a fitness regimen at the same time is extremely difficult.
I’m about 5’7 and fluctuate in weight between 130-145 lbs. which is a big fluctuation! My weight has been extremely flexible and has always given me trouble. It is both a blessing and a curse. From light research I have self-determined that I am a mesomorph – this means that I both gain and lose weight easily and that I have a generally athletic build. I’ll often find myself becoming extremely dedicated or otherwise distracted at other times. My workouts generally include three or four days a week and I stick to weight training paired with different types of cardio when I can. I also try to have one or two short sessions of yoga or meditation a week so I can stay centered mentally and work on my flexibility and I practice mindful eating rather than sticking to any specific diet.
I would have to say the first and most important component of having a strong, personal fitness routine is to develop a solid schedule and STICK TO IT. So many times I have had a great routine going and I’ve stuck to my schedule but for one reason or another I would end up taking a week off or more. Getting back into the gym would be even more difficult, I would think it was pointless to workout because my weight had gone back up or I couldn’t keep up with my old mile times and I felt like I’d let myself down. But, I’m working on making sure that when I don’t go to the gym for a day or two, I get back in the gym as soon as possible. And I keep pushing myself to make healthy choices outside of the gym.
The second most important piece of a personal fitness regimen is to make healthy choices when it comes to your diet and activities outside of the gym. The word “diet” can seem scary, but trust me it is not as complicated as you might think! I think of dieting moreso as “mindful eating”. You don’t need to be restrictive to be healthy when it comes to what you eat. You’ve got to remember that a diet isn’t something you change for a week or a month to quickly lose weight or gain weight, but instead your day to day diet should be changing to establish regular healthy eating habits. The best way to develop a diet that fits your needs is to first set some guidelines. It isn’t to Google search diet ideas or find out what your favorite instagram model or fitness guru eats on a daily basis. Please remember that this is simply what works for me and I am not by any means a nutritionist or a doctor of personal trainer. My diet is more so a set of rules than anything else:
- No dairy other than the occasional cheese on a pizza when I treat myself or a babybel cheese as a snack
- Limit red meat in my diet, my protein primarily comes from chicken and salmon
- Make sure to drink at least 200 ounces of water a day (that’s about six 32 ounce hydroflasks!)
- Eat a good breakfast every single day
- Limit sugar in my diet, unless it comes from fruit
- Make sure to refuel appropriately after all workouts
- Eat a large breakfast, medium lunch and smaller dinner
- No eating after 7:30 PM in order to avoid messing with my digestion and metabolism overnight
- Make sure to have plenty of healthy snacks available throughout the day so you aren’t tempted to grab some chips or something not so healthy
- Remember to have treats once in awhile so you never feel deprived, that’s when it becomes easy to binge eat!
When developing my diet I first wrote down what I ate every day for one week. I did not make any changes or decisions in this first week and simply wanted to see how healthy I was without necessarily being mindful. In doing so, I found that I tend to snack a lot and eat out a lot. Some solutions for my snacking and restaurant-ing became to make sure my snacks were healthy options – a bowl of fruit over chips and dip – and to order sides and split entrees with friends when eating out. Depending on where you live and where you go out to eat, portion sizes at restaurants are huge! I live in America and from what I’ve heard Americans generally eat way too much because our portion sizes are out of control.
My third component of my healthy lifestyle is to workout in ways that I think are fun and to make the workouts fun themselves! Throughout my life I have participated in track & field, volleyball, snowboarding, water polo, basketball, soccer, cheerleading and dance, mountain biking and plenty of other sports and hobbies. Incorporating my love of sports into working out with weights, HIIT cardio swimming and plyometrics as well as yoga and meditation has made it easier to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Whenever I become bored of getting my cardio through running I will instead find a workout involving jumping rope or swimming. This also enables me to cross train. No workout is able to give you the same results as multiple workouts performing various and different exercises!
Overall the process of learning to be accepting and happy with yourself starts from the inside. Yes it is cheesy and yes everyone says the same thing about self love but would people keep saying it if it wasn’t true? No! So while you begin a fitness journey, remember to keep reminding yourself of all the things you love about yourself. I love my freckles, how I somehow still have the endurance I did when I was 14 and ran cross country and the fact that I’m extremely good at finding new recipes on the internet. What do you love about yourself? What drives you to keep up a healthy regimen of exercise and mindful eating? Let me know in the comments!