I can still remember the day I decided to commit to a fitness lifestyle. I woke up as usual to attend my morning classes and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on the way to the shower. I took two steps back and really looked at my body and the first thing that came to mind was “Really? Is this really how my body is going to look like for the rest of my life?”
At that moment, memories of not swimming at parties because I was too shy to take off my shirt and only buying slightly oversized tops so that no one would notice my man boobs came back to me. I realised not being in shape was affecting my confidence and in turn how I made decisions in my life.
That hit me hard because I hadn't even realised that the decisions I was subconsciously making were holding me back from truly having fun and enjoying life to the fullest.
Some people might not be able to relate to this, and that’s great but if you do, then read on. This article will talk about my personal experience approaching the three most important things when it comes to adopting a fitness lifestyle — motivation, diet and exercise.
I came to a point where I was sick and tired about my appearance determining the decisions I made. As a person I like to be in control and it was time to take that back and make a change. I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin at pool parties, be able to take off my shirt at the beach and purchase clothes that would compliment my body, not to hide it. This was what kickstarted my fitness journey — any person who wants to begin their transformation must know their own whys and whats:
Ask yourself why you want to this. What do you want to achieve from all of this?
The ability to self-motivate will be the anchor that keeps you from straying away from your fitness goals. This will keep you going on those days you just want to stop and give up. Understand that throughout this journey, the only person that will be by your side is the same person that can bring you down and make you fail — yourself.
Cultivate a positive and powerful mind so that you will achieve your end goals. Realising that you want to make a change for the better will be your first step.
Tip 1: Stand in front of the mirror and truly look at yourself. Be a critic — evaluate yourself and see if you are happy. If you are, you are doing something right with your life. However if you aren’t, accept the feeling, remember it and turn it into a source of energy you can harness and use during your transformation. Ultimately your end goal should be truly believing that you are the best version of yourself, one you are happy with.
When I began my fitness journey, the first thing that came to mind when I thought ‘diet’ was salads and chicken breast. I had no clue about what a proper diet was and that was one of the reasons it took me awhile to see changes in my body. Without taking the initiative to educate myself, I thought I would have had to give up all my favourite foods, but after doing more research I learnt that it wasn’t as difficult as it first seemed.
Dieting does not mean giving up good food, but rather understanding how to ration your foods and the right combination of food groups. In Malaysia, our meals are often heavy in carbohydrates and low in proteins. Take control of your diet by adjusting your portions. This way you don’t necessarily need to give up all your favourite foods and you still end up full and satisfied after every meal.
Tip 2: Cut down carb portions by half and double your protein intake. When paired with exercise, the simple idea of adjusting your portions can help you lose fat and look toned.
At the start of your health journey, setting foot in the gym may be daunting. My first experience at the gym was like exploring a new city — I wanted to try everything but I had no idea where or how to start! What helped me the best was to do as much research as I could before actually going into it.
YouTube was my best friend at the time, I would search things such as ‘fat-burning exercises’ or ‘workouts for muscle building’ and get hundreds of videos with guides that eventually helped me understand how to use all the common gym machines. Download free workout programs online — these will help you stay consistent and also disciplined in going through with all your workouts.
If the gym is not for you, find a form of exercise that you really love and do it. Be it a sport you did in high school or even something new that you like — as long as you are staying active, you are on the right track. Exercise should be something you enjoy and are able to sustain as you want to do it for at least 3-5 times a week.
TIP 3: Find a form of exercise that you really enjoy so it becomes something to look forward to everyday, especially when you are having a bad day.
Achieving your body goals requires patience and determination. As with anything, to excel it will require hard work, mental strength, and stamina — making changes takes time, especially when it comes to your body. However, once you’ve reach that point of self-satisfaction transcending your insecurities and low confidence levels, that is when you’ll know that all the work that you’ve put in has transformed you, mentally and physically.
Not only were you someone who saw a problem and acted upon it, but also someone who believed in yourself enough to take control of your own life and worked towards becoming the best version you could be.
Header image credit: Flycycle