5 SIMPLE STEPS TO START YOUR LONG-TERM FITNESS JOURNEY
Before I get you started on one of your most exciting journeys which unlocks your body’s true capabilities and let’s you really live life to the fullest, I’m going to provide a bit of insight into myself.
I’m a petite girl, always been waif, but over the past 2 years I’ve picked up some ‘gains’ and I have never felt stronger, capable and more attractive, as I do now. My legs and thighs are Next Level toned, my arms look amazing and my abs are washboard.
It’s not all been plain sailing though as I battle with an insane amount of tightness, which automatically leads to imbalances, i.e. one side being stronger/weaker than the other. I wished I had started with more stretching in the beginning of my training as I had just been going to various gyms, training ‘badly’ and further creating postural problems with my running. This had gone on for 5 years until I found 360 Specialized Training and actually had ‘to go back to basics’. Even now with my strength increasing, my tightness and imbalances from the past still haunt me, are incredibly limiting and hinder my progress into the next phases of my training (Yes, I even understand periodisation nowadays). Base conditioning which consists of stretching and stability are often overlooked as most gyms push you for quick results instead of long-term progress, and at the moment I’ve even put a lot of emphasis to address this, with my Personal Trainer, so my journey won’t be crippled anything short of amazing.
I also love cardio – running and plyometrics are my favourite! And having been introduced to boxing I can tell you that there is nothing more empowering than knowing that you can throw a powerful punch and I hope this article gets you hooked on health (see what I did there).
1. Find a gym appropriate to your needs
Finding a gym in reality is easy: find it, arrive there and sign up – it’s the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself. These days though with so much choice, friend’s influences and with a lot of gyms doing long-term contracts, my advice to you is shop around. After all this is a commitment to your health, so make sure the gym caters to your needs, can turn your goals into reality and most importantly you are made to feel welcome and appreciated. Once you are happy, it does kind of become your 2nd home, so choose wisely. I went for uplifting and positive instead of competitive, however, I also went for personal instead of commercial. It’s for you to decide, we are all unique.
The first time I found 360 Specialized Training , was in a class. They offer quite a few class variations which is cool. It was the toughest thing I had ever done, and although it exposed my weaknesses, I had loads of fun alongside my puddle of sweat. As a person who likes to improve, this actually made me sign up with a Personal Trainer, as I wanted to work on my physical weaknesses which once eradicated would allow me to push on to greater fitness goals and optimum health. I had found the appropriate gym in those 45 mins and I’ve been going back ever since. I love exercise, it is the one thing that consumes my mind the most outside of my family, and 360 Specialized Training is the one environment with the fitness style that actually magnifies this love. I am biased, however you must love your gym, it’s the place you get to work on yourself the most: body, spirit and mind!
2. Compete with yourself
In training it’s just you and yourself – that’s it. Might sound selfish, however it’s often the only time when you can be alone and add real positive value to yourself. Contrary to this, I enjoy training in large classes, to get energy and ooze mine, but it’s never about competing with others. I feed off the vibe, if you are stronger than me, that’s great, however I don’t focus on you, as I’m always my own biggest fan. What I’ve learnt from my mentors, Mat Webb & Chris Walsh, sometimes it’s greater to offer a hand to those below and pull them up and I do this by shouting out that person’s name to motivate them or if I don’t know their name I move next to them and train together. We are all in life together, so we must all train together. Be inclusive of people, inspire them, however, be the squat of your own fitness journey.
On the topic of competing, don’t let training takeover your life. By this I mean you have to see it as something that is a part of your life and not your entire life. Never let anything suffer because of only one thing, for example never neglect family because of work or training. Have a schedule and stick to it! I train a lot, 3-4 hours a day, still fit in a 9-5, family and friends and literally do the most. My training keeps me balanced; it’s the disciplined part of my life which allows me to flourish in all other areas.
3. Set yourself short term goals
Any journey without measure, resets and checkpoints is a waste of time. We tend to look over the importance of them as we don’t want to be judged and fear failure of achieving them, but we all know we have to face ourselves at sometime. So while you are getting measured, weighed and having your fat pinched, you might as well make that your moment of truth. My goals started out more aesthetically, like most people, but when I started to see my weights go up and strength increase, I soon saw that my physical goals of looking more feminine and less waif were being achieved through my joy of performance. The stronger I became the more interested I was in tracking my fitness goals. I even started partaking in the performance testing at my gym on the last Saturday of every month. My pride to date is putting on 10kg of muscle mass and being able to deadlift 75kg, all the while proving that fit girls can still be cute and feminine 😉
4. Get a Personal trainer for specific goals
This was a ‘No brainer’ for me. As fun as the training is, I wanted direction with my personal goals and an expert to guide me. I had messed around for enough years, just to find myself running in place so to speak, and now was a great opportunity to try something new, work with a plan and take responsibility of my body. Yes, in a way I was handing over my body and you could deem that as risky, however the benefit of having an hour solely focused on you, as opposed to just being a number in a class format, is totally worth it. My technique, movements and imbalances were addressed and these have actually allowed me to get greater benefit and enjoyment from the classes. This is proof that it does pay off – just make sure yours is excellent, as I am aware, through friends, that there are a lot of dodgy ones.
My personal trainer, Mat Webb assists me in smashing my fitness goals and selflessly shares in all my little victories like they are his own. Recently I took part and finished the Impi challenge, and he was so proud as he understood all the challenges we had faced together just to even get me to the start line.
5. Share your health success on social media
I am incredibly active on social networks sharing all my fitness news. Everyone shares what they love and I do the same. It’s a great way for me to express myself and hopefully I can have an influence on others to live a positive and healthy life. Secretly I know I’m having an influence as I recently featured, in an exclusive health icon article alongside the professionals, in Longevity Magazine and I was just there through pure zest and cosmic energy. I even got approached to design workouts in another publication, being a bit cheeky and not wanting to give up the chance of contributing, I got my trainer to help me. My favourite has to be the fitness fledglings who actively seek me out on all social media platforms and ask me to assist them. I obviously take them directly under my wing, get them started at 360Specialized Training, train alongside them while they build confidence and set them free to soar on their fitness flight paths.
I hope you have found this article beneficial and now all that is required of you is to go find a gym! Wherever you are, whatever your methods, always train with a smile and share the gift of health with everyone you meet, as it always comes back to you tenfold. That’s why I can walk tall and confidently say that I’m living my best life!