8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Training
1. Progress is not always linear
When I first began with my fitness routine there would be months where I would lose a few kilos and a few centimetres, and other months where I would get measured and I had actually gained size. Remember that the progress doesn't always go the way that you expect. Use the unexpected changes to help you establish what in your routine is or isn't working for you. Find what your body adapts to best and roll with that.
2. Rest, rest and more rest
It's important to actually make sure that you are getting 8-9 hours of sleep per night. If you are training regularly, still busy with every-day activities and then not sleep enough you will become rundown and potentially get sick or injured. Never underestimate the value of getting a full nights sleep.
3. Workout buddies aren't for everyone
I used to always read that you should have a workout buddy to keep you motivated. Are you a competitive person? Because I am. If you have a workout buddy don't try to out-do them just for the sake of being 'better' at something, this can lead to injury. Workout buddies are good for some people, but not everyone.
4. There will be days you will hate exercise
Some mornings you are probably going to wake up and go, "No". If you have exercised for the last 4 or 5 days in a row, then listen to your body and give it a rest. If you haven't, get up, get out and get moving. Too often people skip, "just one day here" and "just one day there" and before you know it the entire routine has fallen to pieces. You're not always going to be motivated to go to the gym, that's the harsh reality of it, but it's about how you can get around that and still make yourself exercise.
5. Motivation is a beast that needs to be fed constantly
Regularly find things that inspire you to change up your routine, add in something new, or just try a new fitness activity. If you need motivation we have the perfection solution right now, the 8 Week Transformation Challenge. We will provide you with 'fitness missions' for each week to keep you motivated, a whole workout plan to follow, online coaching (so you can be anywhere in the world), and exclusive tips, recipes and video content. Register today 8-wtc.com (registrations close August 15, 2015).
6. Find the real reason you are exercising
Exercising to get your 'bikini body' isn't something that's going to keep you going in winter, just as exercising to fit into a dress for your *whatever event* isn't going to keep you motivated after that date passes. Find something more substantial that motivates you, you don't need to tell anyone else what it is. Only you need to know. Be healthier for your family? Set a good example for someone else? Fight off illnesses or health conditions you may be genetically predisposed to? There are plenty of good reasons to be fit and healthy.
7. Comparing yourself does more damage than good
Don't compare where you are at in your journey to where someone else is at in theirs. Everyone has different challenges, different set backs, different body types and follows a different routine. Comparisons often lead to self-doubt.
8. Learn when to re-adjust your goals
Adjusting your goals is a good way to help you stay motivated, and to achieve greater results. At first you might focus on healthy eating, and then shift your focus to gaining muscle, which will in turn help you burn fat. Notice your body changing and learn when you need to shake things up - this will help prevent plateaus. If you have lost a bunch of weight, but aren't looking toned at all, perhaps it's time for less cardio and more weights? Or if you're eating a high carbohydrate diet, but you're not exercising as frequently any more, you could be gaining weight by eating more than you need to.
It's important to remember that a 'successful fitness journey' is going to look different for everyone. There will be ups and downs, times where you feel like you are on top of the world, and other times where you want to give up. Just keep taking it day by day and eventually you will wonder why you hadn't started sooner.