I’ve learnt many things on this health and fitness journey (how cringe calling it a journey…) and that’s not just in the gym or the kitchen. It’s taught me about myself – things I never would have learnt if I wasn’t so consumed in this lifestyle. So here’s my top six things I’ve learnt – from food to mental challenges I’ve had to overcome:
That it’s okay not to like all these fancy protein foods
I tried protein zoats a few weeks ago (oats and courgette with added protein powder) because they’re so heavily endorsed by influencers and fitness bloggers… but no. Nope no never again. I found it vile. I also don’t really like protein powder all that much. I like vanilla flavour but that’s about it – I’ve tried others, but to me they just taste artificial and sickly. I’ll cook with chocolate protein powder, but drinking it was not a nice experience! It’s nice to try different things, but never again!
That my body can’t function properly without carbs
I tend to eat lower carbs and higher fats on rest days, and now that I’m working in an office as opposed to on my feet I wanted to ensure I did this every rest day. I recently tried a complete no ‘real’ carb day (no pasta, bread, rice, potatoes) and it was awful. I’m glad I tried it, but I found myself constantly feeling hungry all day and not being able to fill myself up, and despite having three cups of coffee (I normally have one in the morning and that’s it) I was completely devoid of energy. I will still be doing low carb rest days, but I’ll definitely be starting the day off with a bowl of oats!
That body confidence is never 100% there
We are all guilty of being overly critical, and I think it gets worse as your body gets better. You’ll always notice imperfections and while you try not to you’ll still be critical, but that’s okay. I think I am extremely body confident now and I love my body, but striving to be perfect is just unachievable and I think I need to remind myself that.
That stretching and foam rolling is important
It’s something I neglect because I find it boring but it’s so important. Recovery helps your muscles grow and I really need to bash that into my brain. Recently I’ve been suffering from a back ache and it’s because I’ve neglected recovery a bit. Foam rolling might hurt and stretching might be tedious but it’s so important.
That motivation is completely different from person to person
I see people all the time on Instagram reassure others that it’s okay not to want to go to the gym, it’s okay to feel like you can’t be bothered – but this is something I can’t resonate with. I never have a problem with motivating myself to go to the gym, it’s just such a main, focal part of my life that it almost seems natural now to be there. It’s made me realise that I shouldn’t take that for granted; the fact that I have a mind and body that wants to improve and work all the time is something I am incredibly grateful for.
That you don’t have to have an end goal
When I first started at the gym my goal was to get fit and healthy again. Then it was to get abs. Now I realise that the beauty of this lifestyle is that it’s never ending. You’ll never get to a point where you’re finished. It’s weird in a way, because I love completing things and seeing that I’ve done a good job; but on the other hand having a constantly on going project that you have complete control over is exciting, challenging and rewarding.